Holy Saturday April 11, 2020
In conversations with the elders a week or so ago, after the new government guidance was given regarding groups gathering and restricted travel, we continue to suspend our meeting in the sanctuary for worship on Sundays and Wednesdays as well as all other group meetings and preschool on our campus.
What we are doing is learning to worship together in spirit and in truth as Christ called the Samaritan woman to do, while being apart during this time. We are making available a recorded worship service and sermon by Pastor Rhodes every week. As we’ve just come through Holy Week those services and sermons as well as the last 3 weeks of Wednesday Lenten services are on You Tube with easy links to them through our web site and Facebook page.
We are also using our phone-tree system to notify people when new services are uploaded. This same system allows us to send email and text at the same time. We’ve not only added links to our pages, we also attach our complete service folder, our announcements (with prayer list) and the sermon notes for your use. In this way you can participate in the responsive readings as well as have the hymns and songs in the right places in the service. If you’d like to, you may be added to the phone list or just receive the emails or just the texts. You can contact the church office at firstname.lastname@example.org to get more information.
As to Holy Communion. One of the documents from the synod made the analogy that forgoing communion for a time is no different than if you’re sick or hospitalized and unable to take anything by mouth. (Think of someone having their jaw wired shut for months!) This pandemic is a sickness that is preventing us all from coming together to take communion. So, we need not worry that God’s promises to us are dulled or diminished in their efficacy or power simply by us all “being sick”.
For now we are learning to hunger and thirst for the time when we may again gather together around the altar to be fed on God’s Holy Food to strengthen our faith and partake thereby of the forgiveness of sins and continue proclaiming the Lord’s death till He returns in glory. While we long for our fellowship together at the altar rail, we have no doubt that God’s grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, peace and righteousness to us remain unchanged regardless of the passage of time since, on our knees, we last heard the words, “Given and shed for you”. We still have the gospel proclamation and we still hear the words of absolution following the confession of our sins and we are thereby still strengthened for life and service by God’s Holy Word.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed, Alleluia!
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Tom Rhodes