Way of The Cross

This month, we remember that the future of earth and humanity hangs in the balance. Jesus Vs Caesar. And Jesus indeed is the one who ends up dead—not Caesar, not Pilate, not the crucifying soldiers. Yet the Christian church has insisted that the cross of Jesus is a victory, not a defeat. How can that be? Of course, there is the resurrection, which we will celebrate on the 16th. Jesus is sprung from death’s grip and is thereby vindicated. But even before the resurrection, the cross of Jesus is in some mysterious way a victory of God—a victory of the power of God engaged with the power of Caesar (the current exemplar of normal human rule). What’s interesting is that the gospel struggle is between two totally different kinds of powers, one of which looks more like weakness to us. So where earthly rulers plot to hurt, resist and destroy their enemies, Jesus schemes to love them. Jesus plans to do them good. Jesus prays for them. Jesus reigns through compassion not coercion. Throughout his ministry, Jesus was assaulted by testing over and over again. People were wondering if Jesus would give up on his commitment to embrace only God’s power that looks more than ever like weakness? Let’s imagine the scene at the last supper. At the table sits the one who will betray Jesus, but Jesus does not banish him. Jesus serves him. Jesus reminds them he is one who serves and then confers on them his kingdom. And when the temple police come to arrest him by night, Jesus’ disciples want to fight fire with fire and strike with sword. Jesus thunders, “No more of this?” and heals the bloody victim. Under Caesar’s authority the soldiers mock Jesus, flog him, and nail him to a cross. Under God’s authority, Jesus forgives them. In this life-and-death struggle, one is tempted to say Jesus does not fare well. But the truth is Jesus emerges victorious. Caesar and his agents throw every power they have at Jesus, but they cannot get him to legitimatize their kind of power. Jesus remains faithful to God’s holy power of love to the end. What a great example for us as we are living our faith! May this Easter remind us that His fidelity gives us hope, saves us and challenges us. Will we decide with Jesus today and the following week to stake our lives on God’s power, or will we bow to Caesar’s power along with just about everyone else? With today’s politics, a lot of us, if not all, are going through a difficult time. But be assured that Christ is very faithful and is with us. When we look...

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Why Choose S.C.U.M.C. (By Joelina Verducci)

I have been attending SCUMC for close to threeyears now. It started when we moved to Santa Clara and my husband and I were looking for a new church to attend. I had become disillusioned with a charismatic church I was previously attending. It had become too big, too impersonal and its church politics were becoming disconcerting. My mother who was visiting us at the time after the birth of my son Ricci suggested looking for a Methodist church.You see, I was baptized, raised and confirmed Methodist, but found the charismatic churches to be more exciting and fun. Long story short, we hopped online, googled Methodist churches near me and surprisingly found a few with a 5-mile radius. Tony and I came to SCUMC one Sunday, asked then Pastor Oberg if she would baptize my four month-old son and she said yes. And on 4/20/2014, we had a nice baptismal service for Ricci here. Everyone was so friendly and kind here that even though I visited the other Methodist church on Winchester, I came back here again and again and again.What I love about SCUMC and Pastor Heang touched on this in several of his sermons, was the sense of family that I found here. People aren’t just being friendly and leaving immediately after service is done. They actually take the time to KNOW you. And it’s in all the little things they do that shows how much they care. I am grateful for the many wonderful conversations that we get to have in Inman Hall after church. Maria and Jerry were so warm those first weeks and made us feel so welcomed, the many hugs from Berta and Donna and lots of other people on Sundays, Barbara Shaw never forgets a birthday (even though I have moved like three times, she still tracks us down :)), Selma teaching me how to work my sewing machine, Emma and Estella showing me the grace in serving others, Julia’s creativity, Lisa’s many talents, Ivanna’s Supermum powers and the many, many wonderful friendships that I am developing with everyone. Pastor Heang has a great way of integrating contemporary styles of delivering his insightful messages whiles maintain the essential Methodist traditions which speak to my heart -a call to worship based on building your relationship with God, your church and your community. SCUMC truly feels like a family that I have come to love. One that I can grow with, depend on and trust to be there for me when needed. And that is why I drive 40mins plus to come to church on Sunday! (For Ricci, it’s to see Philo. lol) Joelina...

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Lenten Devotional Study

Sunday Morning Lenten Devotional Prayer Journey: “Whispers of Hope” **Please join me on a 40 day odyssey of prayer!** “No greater priority exists for the believer than knowing Christ through the study of His Word and the intimacy of prayer,” says Beth Moore, the Author of :Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of devotional prayer. We will also be blending in the introduction of “Another Bead, Another Prayer” By Kristen and Max Vincent Protestant Prayer Beads! We will be embarking on a journey this Lent that will introduce us to a new way of connecting with God. Protestant prayer beads are a prayer tool that can help you experience God’s presence, increase your focus and comfort level in prayer, and be still and feel God’s love for you! I have been making enough prayer beads for a class…. and I’m excited to share them with you this Lent! (If you find that using them in prayer helps you, then they are yours. If this form of prayer is not for you, just give them back to me for the next prayer group class.) Devotions include scripture, bible reading, and devotional reading, then prayer, and take-home daily devotions. Hope to see you this Sunday! Julia Borjeson Class begins this Sunday! March 5th @ 11:15am Frey Room Santa Clara United Methodist Church 1700 Lincoln St. @ Warburton Santa Clara. Questions? Call...

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Lenten Greeting from Pastor Heang

I hope and pray that this Communique reaches you in good spirit. Here we are in Lenten Season. Wednesday March 1st, we will have Ash Wednesday service at 6:00 p.m. in Frey Room. Please come experience this inspirational service. This service is about penitence which we often ignore or give very little attention to. This is a night to remember that we are mortal. From dust we were created, and to dust we shall return. And it is a night to remember that we all are sinners. It is also a night to remember that God give us grace to choose repentance-continual turning away from self-centeredness and sins. The good news is, through Jesus, God gives us complete forgiveness and redemption. Most importantly, He gives us life both now and eternal. So I encourage you will join me in this season of Lent by thinking about penitence and where in your life this attitude might be needed as we follow Christ to the cross. Penitence means sincere sorrow for our sins and failures. Starting from Ash Wednesday until Easter, the church embraces this idea of penitence. If you are like me, your first instinct would be to ask, “Why? Why is sorrow for my sins and failure is something that I should intentionally choose to contemplate? I know I am a sinner. What value can it be that I should focus on that? Shouldn’t we be focusing on the salvation, redemption and reconciliation of Jesus Christ?” The idea of penitence can be counter intuitive. However, to embrace the gospel is to choose to leave behind the sins. The reality is that repentance plays an essential role in our journey with Christ. In his book, I surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception “that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior. It is revival without reformation, without repentance.” Remembering our sins should lead us closer to Christ. It should lead us to pray to God saying, “I don’t want to be that kind of spouse. I don’t want to be that kind of person that is not consistent to be your follower, Lord. I am sorry that I ever acted in those ways. Help me in all circumstances to keep acting out of self-centered. I am sorry.” The more we follow Christ, the more we know we need repentance, the more like Christ we become, the more that we are conformed to the image of Christ. That is sanctification. God is working in us like a potter. He prepares us. He makes and molds us. And as we have...

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