Holy Week
As I write this, Holy Week has just begun.
We will worship on Friday at 7 pm
focused on the last Seven Words of
Jesus and then celebrate the
Resurrection on Sunday with Irm going all
out with flowers, musicians, and choir and
the fellowship team celebrating with a waffle bar.
We celebrate the victory of Compassion over Ambition and Division.
The Compassion of Jesus shines through even in his last moments. Perhaps you have
been with someone in their last moments and heard their last words. My father’s final
words to the family were all about the love he had for us. My mother’s final words were
to agree with my sister Marcia that she could rest now.
Jesus’ last words begin with: “Father forgive them.” Those who put him on the cross
stand below the cross mocking him now. Jesus understands that: “They know not what
they do.” (Luke 23:34).
Have you known people who “do not know what they are doing” yet can cause great
harm? Have they harmed you? What is your response?
I have known people throughout my ministry who have been taken advantage of by
people they trusted. Their finances, and sometimes their health have been adversely
affected, putting them in a difficult situation which is hard to recover from. A surprising
number of times, they join Jesus and decide to forgive the offending party. They do not
allow resentment to rule their lives. What decision about forgiveness have you or others
The next words of Jesus are assuring the thief next to him that: “Today you will be with
me in Paradise.” What wondrous assurance to a man who by his own admission is
getting what he deserves. He just asks to be remembered.
Who are the people you want to remember you? Are they family, friends, community? I
appreciate knowing that Jesus remembers me. The far-flung stars reveal the immense
boundaries of the universe, yet the Creator would remember me? Meditating on that
recognition brings Paradise into our lives even now.
Jesus’ next words are to his mother, Woman behold your son…and to the beloved
disciple: Behold your mother. Mary is there in spite of misgivings about his ministry.
Jesus offers the beloved disciple as a companion for her in her loss. She receives not
only his companionship but that of the whole church. She is there on Pentecost praying
for the birth of the church.
Over the years I have seen good people die, my father and mother among them. I have
also seen how Jesus still offers the church as a comfort. Jesus called disciples into
a community for mutual support. What a marvelous mission for us, the church, as the
body of Christ, to be there for each other. As you look around the congregation on
Sunday say a prayer of thanks: Behold your brothers and sisters in Christ.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Mark 15:34). These next words are
such a plaintive cry that Luke does not include it in his Gospel, though he has the
Gospel of Mark in front of him. There seems to be no way of coming back from these
words of abandonment. Yet they are just the start of Psalm 22, which is full of remorse.
The psalmist cries out day and night with no answer and no rest. Though he feels like a
“worm, not a man”, he sees a day when he will praise God. “May our hearts live forever.”
One of the old heresies of the church was that Jesus as the Son of God could not and
would not suffer. The godly part of Jesus took a hike at the site of the cross. The church
rejected that revision of scripture. When we suffer, Jesus is with us, by our side in our
sleepless nights and loneliness. Our hearts can live forever in the peaceful presence of
“I thirst” is the next word. The humanness of Jesus is made clear. When we suffer
physically, we can remember Jesus experienced physical suffering as well.
Watching good people suffer is one of the most difficult aspects of ministry. I have a
hard time imagining people standing beneath the cross, mocking Jesus. Crucifixion was
meant to be public, but why stand there? All through history, however, people have
chosen to mock the dying. We have grainy pictures of people gathering around to
witness lynchings. The atrocities of the Russians in Ukraine or of Hamas in Israel and
Israel in Gaza are reminders of blood thirst within humanity. Jesus, we thirst for a better
world. Twice a month we provide food to those in need.
It is finished (John 19:30) is a declaration of completion. Jesus’ ministry in this world is
fulfilled. Is it not a wonderful feeling to have accomplished a task? The next chapter can
now begin. What joy at life’s end to have achieved the tasks set before you!
Next Sunday we begin the next chapter with Jesus. For the 50 days of the Easter
season, we will walk with Jesus as he walks with the disciples. We will remember his
words to Mary Magdalene. Just the saying of her name lifts her heart. We will remember
the visit with Peter by the sea of Galilee and the appearance to Thomas. They will walk
with him and then wait and pray for Pentecost when they themselves will be given a task to
complete. Despite all odds, they will join Jesus in experiencing the pride and peace of
lives well lived. May we all know such peace.
Into Your hands, I commend my spirit (Luke 23:46) at the last of life we have nowhere else to
go but release ourselves into the hands of God. I rejoice in knowing that the hands that
will receive my efforts, my hopes, and my spirit are reflected in One who speaks these
words from the cross. What comfort to offer oneself up these divine hands.
Lord thank you for your words from the cross that can comfort us in our sorrows and
grant us the confidence in that hope, love, and grace are eternal, and triumphant. May your
words guide our steps as we follow you this Holy Week and Easter Season.
Grace and Peace,
Pastor John Bunge

Next Pantry – Every 2nd & 4th Saturday. Special Offerings during Lent went to
support this ministry. We will also have a pantry food gathering during the Easter
Season. Feeding America has not been getting food donations from corporations, so
that means a shortage for the Faith Food Pantry. Thanks right now that Aldi is providing
food through our connection there. We could especially use Pasta sauce and Canned
Last week to dedicate your Thrivent Choice Dollars – We received nearly $1,000 in
Thrivent Choice dollars thus far. You can designate your dollars to Faith but need to do
so before March 31. Call 1-800- Thrivent or 800-847-4836 for more information.
Thanks to everyone who supported our Musicians and Flowers appeal. The names
will be sent out in a separate email and are available at the rear of the church.
Bless you for all the ways you support Faith Lutheran.
March 29 – Good Friday Service 7 pm. The Seven Last Words of Jesus.
March 31 – Easter – invite a friend – a special day – sermon, flowers, music, breakfast.
Time of Meditation –Nelson Hall continues to lead a time of prayer and meditation on
Thursdays @ 1 pm. Join this group in unity of prayer and meditation.
LAUREN SCHAFER our Office Assistant’s hours are: 12:30-3:00 M – Th.
The Pastor will be in the office Monday and Tuesday again, now.
Confirmation Classes No class Easter, March 31. Back in action in April at 11:15 am.
Choir – We practice at 9:00 am before services.
WELCA – The Next Women’s Bible Study will be April 6. at 9:30 a.m. in the Fireside
QUILTING – Emily Smith’s Group (909.255.2452) has completed 16 for Central City
Lutheran Mission and 6 for Lutheran World Relief. They also gave 23 lap quilts to
Smiles Seniors of Yucaipa.
 Pray for erwin as he mourns the death of Lynda who passed away on March 19. He
appreciates being contacted by mail or email: Buschauererwin08@gmail.com.
The memorial service will likely be in April.
 Pray for the family of Glen Egerstrom the service for his mother will be on April 6 at
Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks @ 2 pm.
 Pray for the Cady family — Steve’s mother Donna passed away in her sleep on
Monday, February 26 at 6 am. She requested no funeral or memorial service, so
none are planned.

 Eloise is still home recovering. Thanks, Carol, for your visit to her.
 The Koenig Family – Jeanne needs our continued prayers. She had gallbladder
surgery this week. We are also praying for their daughter, Jessica, as her leukemia leaves

her tired. Lucas is in our prayers. Nice to have them all in church on Sunday. Jeanne &
Joe will be moving back to Yucaipa in April.
 Kyle and Dana’s son, Kevin’s, Mother-in-Law, Lisa, cancer was found even after
 Cesar and Kim would also appreciate prayers for their sons, Tim, and Kyle.
 The Sheas would appreciate prayers for Rebecca and Chris Herandez in need of
housing for themselves and the twins.
 Continued Godly journey for Brendan Simms, son of Bonnie Strack.
PALM SUNDAY CELEBRATION THANK YOUS! Dave & Bonnie for setting up the
gorgeous sanctuary palms. To Joe & Lucas for the outside palms, to Ed & Connie for
putting them up. To Barbara, Jennifer, Elisha, Dave, and Paula for the reading. Irm for the
nice music. To Karen and the communion crew. To the “Boys in Back”, Elisha &; Julian. To the
Fellowship group for breakfast.
Thanks also to Kyle Hadley and Tim Drum for repairing the security door.
Stop by and find yourself among the ministries we do. If you have any pictures,
please forward them to Debi Hitter, debihitter@msn.com. We will be taking follow-up
pictures to update the directory.


EASTER Sunday Join us for WAFFLES. Thanks to Jennifer and Richard!!
Complete with sausages, a waffle bar, and fruit.
951.514.1214 if we could borrow it for Easter morning.
PALM SUNDAY – GREAT to serve you — We served a record number of people.
Thanks to Karen, Pat M., and Jennifer for baking the quiches and to Dona for the
scones. Thanks to Richard for helping to clean up.

Looking ahead to April
14 FIESTA DAY with Chefs Richard & Jennifer, a taco bar and cookies
21 SERVING YOUR FAVORITES DAY – with meatballs, salad, brownies, fruit
28 BINGO – Kim’s Famous Taco Soup, salad, and Karen’s awesome desserts.