Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Gospels in 40 Days: Day 37

 John 15-16

Photo by Peter Keller on Unsplash

The Vine and the Branches

15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.

Click here, for the rest of today's readings.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

Inside the walls of the old city of Jerusalem there is a mixture of three of the world’s religions, Christian, Jewish and Muslim. A visit to the area brings home this fact to any observer. It is one of the reasons why there has been so much difficulty in resolving the conflict in this part of the world. Within the walls, each of those religions has areas that are considered sacred to that religion.

The base of the first Jewish temple comprises what is now known as the “Wailing Wall”. That is at one of the lowest levels of the old city. On top of those old foundations is what commonly called “Dome of the Rock”, a Muslim temple with a golden dome visible for a great distance. To reach that Muslim area, a visitor must go through a security checkpoint at the entrance to the sheltered walkway which rises to the upper area. To go through that bottleneck, one must present a passport, submit to an airport kind of screening with any item being carried passing through x ray and a personal wanding. As you might imagine this tedious process is slow and the long line is slow moving.

The day that my travel group had scheduled to visit the Dome of the Rock was a Thursday. That is the day that by tradition a boy who is going through Bar Mitzvah travels with his family to the Wailing Wall. While we were standing in the line, Jewish family groups began to arrive. Each group of a dozen people or more had a canopy to hold over the boy. People in each group carried musical instruments and drums. Everyone was singing along with the instruments that were being played. What a festive parade! Waiting in line had turned into a joyous occasion.

I suddenly realized that was a re-creation of Jesus’ entrance to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. It must have been like this, with happy people singing, having fun and enjoying the celebration. And I was in the very place it all happened. This memorable day has given me a new perspective and a different understanding of the events of Palm Sunday.

Alice Crippen

Monday, March 29, 2021

One Great Hour of Sharing, Lenten Water Challenge


During Lent and especially on Easter, we have the opportunity to participate in the One Great Hour of Sharing, which responds directly to the Isaiah 58 needs God has called us to fulfill. This is one of the Special Offerings during the year, and it provides funding for the • Presbyterian Hunger Program, • Presbyterian Disaster Assistance • Self Development of People. Total national OGHS funds raised for 2020 were $3,188,365. Every donation counts! You can use the special yellow envelope that was in your packet for February, or you can write a check to St. Mark and indicate OGHS (One Great Hour of Sharing). Click here for more.

Please participate along with your Lenten Water Challenge donation that benefits Marian Medical Mission, providing clean water wells to communities in Africa.


Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kills more people annually than all forms of violence, including war. In the world, 663 million people do not have access to clean water. About half of the world’s population who lack clean water live in Africa. 

Marion Medical Mission has played an active role in the fight against dirty water. Since 1990, they have built over 31,000 wells in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia providing over four million people with a sustainable source of safe drinking water. Without Christ, that would not have been possible! With Him, all is possible. And by His power, we believe that countless millions of others will receive life-giving water. 

For the past 19 years, St. Mark has supported Marion Medical Mission through our Christmas Alternatives Gift Fair. During the past three years, St. Mark member donations have funded the construction of 30 wells. 

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Palm Sunday Worship March 28

 March 28, 2021 

10:00 am Virtual Service 



God of salvation, our lord entered his passion to raise us to life. In the holiest of weeks, help us to walk the way of the cross, that we may be raised in a resurrection like his and dwell forever in you, Eternal God: Father, son, and holy Spirit. Amen

PRELUDE      “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”      Lovelace 





Awake to the day of our Savior’s triumph!

Give thanks for this day that leads to the cross!

Come with your branches, hosannas, and songs!

Fill the air with welcome to the Lord!

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

† HYMN      “All Glory, Laud, and Honor”      Hymnal #196




Lord Jesus Christ, how well you know our hearts,

And still you love us – you have loved us to the end.

We have denied you,

And we have denied our calling to serve one another.

We have betrayed you



The peace of Christ be with you. And also with you. 

SCRIPTURE Mark 11:1-11 

SERMON “Why Are You Doing This?” Rev. Dr. Dave Burgess



I believe in God, the Father almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic church; the communion of the saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. Amen. 




Jesus gave himself for the life of the world. With humble hearts bowed in awe, let us offer ourselves and our gifts to God. Please pray with me.


Holy God, we give thanks for your saving love made known to us in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. Bless these gifts that that they may bring life on earth as in heaven; in Christ’s name we pray. Amen.


SPECIAL MUSIC     “Blessed is He Who Comes"          Choplin 

Christine Polak, soloist



† HYMN “Rejoice, the Lord is King” Hymnal #363


† BENEDICTION RESPONSE      “Shalom to You”      Eslinger 

POSTLUDE      “Ride on in Majesty”      Dykes 

†You are invited to stand, as you are able. 


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Scripture for March 28,2021

 Mark 11:1-11

Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King

11 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”

They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,


“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[b]

10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

Read full chapter


  1. Mark 11:9 A Hebrew expression meaning “Save!” which became an exclamation of praise; also in verse 10
  2. Mark 11:9 Psalm 118:25,26
Einzug Christi in Jerusalem by Meister der Palastkapelle

Friday, March 26, 2021

Daily Prayer March 26, 2021

I appeal to you, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

Daily Readings for Friday, March 26, 2021

Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ ascended to the throne of heaven that he might rule over all things as Lord. Keep the church in the unity of the Spirit and in the bond of peace; bring all creation to worship at his feet, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Clothe us with the power promised from on high, and send us forth to the ends of the earth as heralds of repentance and witnesses of Jesus Christ, firstborn from the dead. Merciful God, strengthen us in prayer that we may lift up the brokenness of this world for your healing, and share in the saving love of Jesus Christ. We pray for those in positions of authority over others, the lonely and forgotten, children without families or homes, agents of caring and relief. (Add your prayers.) Amen.

May God in endless mercy bring the whole church, the living and departed, to a joyful resurrection in the fulfillment of the eternal kingdom.

(Opening sentences, prayers, and blessings are from the Book of Common Worship. Readings are from the daily lectionary in Daily Prayer. Both are published by Westminster/John Knox Press.)

Thursday, March 25, 2021

After Easter

--   Julie Northrip   3/15/2021          

But now is Christ risen from the dead – 1 Corinthians 15:20

Inside the Easter card was this scripture and the message “With thanks to God for you and for all the joys that are ours because Jesus lives.” I found the card last summer while looking through a box in my office. It was filled with items I had saved from my desk at the Arch when I left in 2016 but had never taken time to sort through. At first the card puzzled me. Why did I have an Easter card at work?

Opening it up, I saw it was from my sister. She wrote, “I am sorry that you have to work on Easter.” There was that one year when I was supervising the staff at the Arch and I worked on Sundays. I remember bringing her card to work with me that day. I also remember playing the Hallelujah Chorus in my office just so it would seem a little more like Easter.

My sister didn’t just send me a card because she felt sorry for me having to work. She continued with “I see Easter as not only the day that we celebrate new life through the blood of Jesus but also the new life I have because of your stem cells that make my blood. I am thankful that you were able to save my life.”

She was grateful for the gift of life, the life she had at that moment, but also for the life that she knew she would have later. Reading this a few months after her death, I will admit to feeling some guilt that my gift to her didn’t give her as many years as we had hoped. But, here in this card, written several years earlier, she is telling me that she was thankful for the life she was able to have at that moment. She was also recognizing that there would be new life for us in the future.

At Easter last year, just a couple of months after her death, I took some comfort in the message of eternal life, but it was all still a bit too raw to fully accept. It wasn’t until several months after Easter, when I found the card, that I began to think about what Jesus’s love and sacrifice meant for those of us living here on earth and in the future. It took being reminded of that special gift by someone who was experiencing a life that will never end.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Gospels in 40 Days: Day 31

 John 3-4

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

“How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

To continue with today's readings, click here.

Jesus Window by Tiffany 
Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, 
Albion, NY.