Dear Church Family,
As I write this we are about to enter the most moving and powerful week of the Christian Year. On Sunday we will celebrate Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey as crowds waved Palm Branches. Then we have the passion of the Last Supper and the Garden of Gethsemane which we will celebrate in our Maundy Thursday service, and together celebrate the last supper. In sermon on Sunday followed by the beautiful Choir program on Thursday evening, we will feel the very moving words of Jesus as he hangs from the cross on Good Friday. The story in the gospel tells us that he is removed from the cross and buried in a garden tomb with a stone rolled over the entrance. When the women come on Sunday morning to prepare the body, the stone is rolled away and the body is gone. They and the disciples begin to experience the resurrected Jesus. This week is an experience of the very real range of human emotions, metaphors for life and experiences of God’s amazing Grace and hope over the evil and despair of our world.
To help continue our spiritual walk during this week, we will be sending out a series of daily devotionals written by pastor’s from across our country as they reflect on the movements of each day as recorded in the gospels. I know some of our families will be traveling for Spring break, I simply ask that you find a little time each day to practice the habits of the daily walk that I have been preaching about during lent. Find time each morning to pray, read the devotion and give thanks for the gift that God has given all of us in Jesus who gave his life for us, and in his resurrection gives us our hope.
To get to that hope, we have to go through the passion and crucifixion. I hope all of you will plan to be with us on Thursday, April 1 (I know April fools day, but this is no joke, it’s very real.) for the Maundy-Thursday service at 7 pm. This will be our communion service for the Easter holiday weekend and the choir is planning some moving special music about the crucifixion after the communion. I know we want to invite friends and would love for everything to be normal. At the time of this writing, our current COVID protocols of mask and social distancing are still in place. We will let you know if there are changes after Sunday night’s council meeting. We know many in our congregation have received the vaccine and there was talk about easing restrictions. Currently our local schools and the CDC still require mask and social distancing. Please join me in wearing your mask when around others in the building and we will continue to use the programs for the service to space us out in the sanctuary.
Renee will be taking written reservations to attend both the Maundy Thursday and 11 am Easter services to make sure we are staying with the new guidelines for size of crowd in the space. Please include the count of any guest or friends that you invite. We would love to throw the doors wide open, however we also don’t want to spike the metaphorical football on the 5 yard line either.
For me, this Holy Week will be a celebration of making it through one of the hardest years in ministry I have ever faced. There was not a class in seminary on how to lead a church through a world wide shutdown and pandemic. The feelings of the passion are real this year and there is much that has been experienced as loss, pain and suffering.
There is also the hope of Easter. We are vaccinated in what can only be described as miraculous speed. We are traveling again and beginning to dream of living again. We have learned new ways of doing things and hopefully learned to value each other. I love Easter and the message of God’s Hope. However, to get there we have to go through the passion.
Will you take that journey with me this year?