Grace and peace in our Lord, Jesus Christ! I hope all of you are well, staying at home, washing your hands, and generally staying healthy.
Tomorrow represents the traditional start of Holy Week — the week in which we remember Christ’s time in Jerusalem, his arrest, trial, conviction, and death leading to the great celebration of Easter on April 12. Tomorrow’s online worship experience begins with Christ’s triumphal entry into the city (the liturgy of the palms), and moves to his arrest and trial before Pilate (the liturgy of the passion). The video for this experience is already up on YouTube and I hope you will take the time to watch the full video (go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68fE_A9phqQ&t=109s to see it).
This Friday we will be putting out a devotional experience for Good Friday focused on Jesus’s “seven last words” on the cross. This will be a simple reflection on Christ’s death and it’s meaning for our lives. I will let you know when it’s up.
Of course, we still will not be together in person on Easter Sunday given the requirements to stay at home. While some churches are attempting “drive-in” worship on that day, our leadership team decided that we would be better served by celebrating Easter whenever we are able to meet together again in person, and so our first worship service after this is all over will be a celebration of new life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. We will, however, be remembering Christ’s resurrection in our video worship on April 12.
One thing that’s lacking in the video worship experience is the interaction with one another about how God is present in our midst. I want to invite any of you who is willing to make comments on the YouTube or church web page about what God is saying to you in the service. I also want to invite any of you to record a video on your smartphone or computer with a prayer request, a witness, or a testimony and email it to me and I will try to include it in the service. For our Easter video, would you think about recording your or your family saying “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!” and emailing the video to me at email@example.com. It would be great to include as many of you as possible in that service.
In other news, we will again be hosting the Showers of Blessing ministry this Monday, using volunteers from Community Care Fellowship and City Road Chapel. We will also be giving out snack bags to our homeless friends assembled by our friends at Matthews Memorial UMC.
I also want to offer a personal word of thanks to Diane Iovino and Jimmie Douglas (along with Amy Campbell, our banker at Pinnacle) for their work in getting together the application for financial support available to us through the CARE program approved by Congress to assist small businesses. This will allow us to continue to provide salary support to our daycare and other staff, and should we be approved for these funds, it will be a great gift. Jimmie and Diane have taken great leadership in guiding us through this process and I can not thank them enough.
I continue to hold each of you in my prayers. I ask for a special measure of God’s grace to be upon you in the days and weeks ahead.