March 28, 2024 | Issue #206

Dear Bellefield Family,

For the last four years or so, each Holy Week, I find myself thinking about the Isenheim Altarpiece.


I first became aware of the altarpiece in seminary, as we were discussing the gospel of Mark. What draws my mind back to the altarpiece each Holy Week is the depiction of Jesus on the cross in contrast to his resurrection and ascension. Matthias Grünewald, the altarpiece’s painter, was painting for a monastery that specialized in hospital work. Seeking to show Jesus’ identification with the sick and suffering, he depicts Jesus’ death on the cross as unusually grotesque: he is emaciated, his hands are splayed, his head bowed, mouth agape. Next to Jesus (anachronistically), John the Baptist points to him and says in Latin, “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30).

It is an appropriately bizarre scene. Human wisdom has categories for understanding David-and-Goliath sort of underdog victories: pride goes before the fall, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, “my greatest weaknesses are my greatest strengths”, etc. However, there are limits to this. Brock Purdy’s rise from last pick in the NFL draft to the starting quarterback of a team in the Super Bowl is an incredible accomplishment, but he still lost the Super Bowl. Failure is still failure, and the idea that the crumpled, powerless man on the cross can in any way ‘increase’ is beyond the limits of our human imagination. It is just defeat.

Yet when the altarpiece is opened to reveal the resurrected Jesus, we see him rising as a sun, standing in victory over his vanquished enemies below him. His palms still show the nail holes, but his hands are raised in victory, not splayed in pain. His face is so radiant that it is difficult to make out. Death and (seeming) failure, in the strange and wonderful gospel of Jesus Christ, become the means of victory. 

Why is Jesus' victory so counterintuitive? I think Grünewald gives us a hint with his placement of John at Jesus’ crucifixion. The strange (by human standards) method of salvation Jesus uses forces us to wrestle with a question: what if, when it comes to how humans relate to God, we haven’t just been sort of wrong, but dead wrong? What if the question of success and salvation isn’t one of gradual self-improvement through struggle, but radical self-abnegation: “he must increase, I must decrease?” 

Then it would mean we wouldn’t be able to boast in anything but Jesus himself.

I’m praying for all of us, that we will see more fully the beauty and wonder of the death and resurrection of Jesus.

In Christ,

Greg Burdette

Easter At Bellefield

O'Hara Street may be closed from University Place to DeSoto Street for construction.

You may turn up Thackeray Ave to access the Bellefield and Sci-Tech parking lots, or you may access the Soldiers and Sailors parking garage from Bigelow Blvd.

See you soon for our times of worship!

Maundy Thursday Worship

March 28th at 7pm

Maundy Thursday is our worship service where we commemorate Jesus' final meal with his disciples and participate in the Lord's Supper together.

Our prayer and scripture devotional is available to download or read here.

Good Friday Worship

March 29th at 12pm

Good Friday worship allows us to reflect upon the darkness of the cross, contemplating the sacrifice that Christ made for us. The Sanctuary is open for reflection and quiet prayer following the service until 3 pm. Come and pray as we remember Christ's death on the cross.

Our prayer and scripture devotional is available to download or read here.

Resurrection Sunday Worship

March 31st at 8:30am & 11:00am

Sunday we gather for Resurrection Worship to celebrate the good news that Christ is risen and victorious over the grave!

*Note: we invite everyone to join for morning worship only this Sunday

Easter Potluck Breakfast

March 31st at 9:45am

Join us from 9:45am-10:45am in fellowship hall for our potluck Easter breakfast. If you can, we encourage you to bring something to share (egg casserole, fruit, baked goods, etc.), and we will provide drinks as well as some supplemental items. All are invited for this time of fellowship as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus!


Upcoming Schedule Changes to our Sunday 9:45am Hour:

  • March 31st - Easter Breakfast at 9:45am
  • April 7th - Sunday Classes and NO Potluck Breakfast
  • April 28th - Potluck Teach Appreciation Breakfast
  • May 5th - No Potluck, No Sunday Classes

Friday, March 29th

  • Good Friday Worship Service @ 12pm, Sanctuary
  • Good Friday Open Sanctuary @ 1pm-3pm, Sanctuary

Saturday, March 30th

  • Men's Group @ 7am, Bellefield Lot
  • Young Families Small Group @ 9:30am, email Greg for details

Sunday, March 31st - Resurrection Sunday

Monday, April 1st

  • Bellefield Office Closed
  • Women's Bible Study @ 9:30am, Conference Room & Online
  • Youth Group, Email Matthew for details

Tuesday, April 2nd

  • Freshman Bible Study @ 7pm, Room B6

Wednesday, April 3rd

  • Wednesday Hangouts, Email Matthew for details
  • Cornerstone University Fellowship @ 8:40pm, Fellowship Hall

Thursday, April 4th

  • Young Adult Small Group @ 7pm, Room B6
  • Chatham Christian Fellowship @ 7pm, Chatham

Saturday, April 6th

  • Men's Group @ 7am, Bellefield Lot
  • Young Families Small Group @ 9:30am, email Greg for details
  • Women's Small Group @ 10:30am, Conference Room
  • Parent's Night Out (University Fundraiser) @ 5:30pm, Room 202

Sunday, April 7th

  • Classic Worship Service @ 8:30am, Sanctuary
  • Sunday Classes @ 9:45am
  • Modern Worship Service @ 11am, Sanctuary
  • Worship Online, Livestream @ 11am
  • Young Adult Small Group @ 1pm, Room B6
  • Relaxed Worship Service @ 5:00pm, Fellowship Hall
  • Simple Supper @ 6:00pm, Fellowship Hall
  • University Bible Study @ 7pm, Conference Room

To watch our worship service online after Sunday morning, head over to our YouTube page, click Videos and then Past Live Videos. On Tuesdays you can find the recorded live stream on the front page of our YouTube channel.

A reminder that to protect those who are vulnerable to illness, we have the option of watching worship online if you can't come in person and we reserve a section of seating in the Sanctuary for those who choose to wear masks during our 8:30am and 11:00am worship services.

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