Pastor’s Letter for April 2023


Pastor Jim Martin of St. Matthew United Methodist Church in Weston, WV
Pastor Jim Martin

As I write this, Palm Sunday (or perhaps you have heard it called in more recent years, Palm/Passion Sunday) is almost here.  Why did someone mess around with the title to “Palm Sunday?”  Mainly, it is so worshipers will have an opportunity to hear a Scriptural account of Jesus’s death.   Why?  Because many worshipers “miss” either one or both Holy Week services (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday) and therefore as a community do not engage with the Passion of Christ.  The Passion of Christ is the Scriptural account of Jesus’s death on a cross (crucifixion).  

I hate to belabor the point, but some choose to skip over the days and worship services of Holy Week jumping from Palm Sunday directly to Easter Sunday.  Think about it.  Even Jesus couldn’t (or chose, for our sakes) not to make that leap.   Jesus went to the cross for you and for me, indeed, for all of humanity, for all of creation.   Jesus endured what is remembered and reenacted through Scripture and prayer on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.   Jesus could not get to the Resurrection without dying on Calvary, and we cannot fully celebrate Easter without fully acknowledging and, yes, enduring Good Friday.” 

I encourage all of you to join your friends and fellow worshipers at St. Matthew for the Maundy Thursday Service 7 PM on April 6, and the Good Friday Service 7 PM on April 7. 

We will be gathering at the Lewis County Park for St. Matthew’s tradition of Easter Sunrise Service at the large shelter by the Putt-Putt course.  Greg St. Clair will be waiting on us with a warm fire to chase away the morning chill.  Service will begin about 6:30 AM. 

Easter is a season, not just a day.  For the next six Sundays following Easter Day, April 9, worship will focus upon the Scripture lessons from the Psalms and the First Letter of Peter with the over arching theme:  A Living Hope.  I look forward to you joining us either in person or online as we stream our services on YouTube. 

I leave you with a poem/prayer composed by pastor, chaplain, theologian, and mystic Howard Thurman.

Open unto me—light for my darkness.

Open unto me—courage for my fear.

Open unto me—hope for my despair.

Open unto me—peace for my turmoil.

Open unto me—joy for my sorrow.

Open unto me—strength for my weakness.

Open unto me—wisdom for my confusion.

Open unto me—forgiveness for my sins.

Open unto me—tenderness for my toughness.

Open unto me—love for my hates.

Open unto me—Thy Self for my self.

      Lord, Lord, open unto me!

In Christ,

Pastor Jim