Current Response to the Coronavirus with Holy Week Information
March 31, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
“ 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
I hope this note finds each and every one of you doing well during this time of shelter in place. I know I miss being with each and every one of you, but please know that you remain in my prayers.
I love those words from Paul in Philippians 1. They remind us of the joy of being together. They remind us that ministry is not a solo event but that it is a partnership every step of the way as even now in this midst of this shelter in place we are together carrying on ministry as we are the hands and feet of Jesus to those whom God has placed around us. But also, of the reality that God is not done with us yet. This true personally and collectively. God is working in each and every one of us to mold us and shape us into the image of His Son that we might be more and more like Jesus each and every day. God is working in us as a church calling the lost the be found, sending the saved to do His great work of making disciples, loving both the lovable and the unlovable, to be light in the midst of darkness, and speak words of hope into what at times can seem like hopelessness. You are God’s child. We are God’s church. God is alive and well working in us personally and collectively. God is not done with us yet. Not even the COVID-19 can stop the work of God in us, through us, and among us.
During this time of shelter in place I have had the opportunity to do some reading on all sorts of fronts. One of the books that I have started is a devotional called A Shelter In The Storm by Paul David Tripp. I want to share a couple paragraphs that I found encouraging from his introduction that I found powerful as he speaks into how we are followers of Jesus look at times of trouble.
There are many mysteries to this moment in our lives that we will never solve. Yet, there are a few things that we know for sure. We really do live in a fallen world. We haven’t been given a ticket out of the brokenness of this world simply because we are the children of God…The world we live in simply is not operating the way God intended.
There is a second thing we know for sure. There is a God of awesome grace who meets his children in moments of darkness and difficulty. He is worth running to. He is worth waiting for. He brings rest when it seems like there is no rest to be found.
But there is a third thing. You and I were just not hardwired to make our way through this fallen world on our own. We were meant to exist with eyes filled with the beauty of his presence and hearts at rest in the lap of his goodness. This is what I love about the Psalms. They put difficulty and hope together in the tension of hardship and grace that is the life of everyone this side of eternity.
These are awesome truths that I need to be continually reminded of during this time. I hope these words serve as a good reminder and encouragement for you as well.
I want to give you an update on ministry plans at Our Savior. At this point with the President’s extension on Sunday of the no meetings of more than 10 people until April 30, it is looking more and more likely that our worship will be continuing online rather than in person. While, I know this is a bummer for most of us, it seems prudent so that this virus can run its course and we can keep everyone healthy and safe.
With that said, we have been working very hard to put together some very special plans for Holy Week.
- Palm Sunday-We will have a special online service featuring three of the absolute favorite Palm Sunday hymns incorporated into the online service. We have been able to get the proper licensing to be able to this. This is going to be a pretty special service. I invite you, as you are able, to find a palm branch and be ready to wave it high as we shout and pray Hosanna together.
- Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of Holy Week- On each of these days, I will be putting together a special devotion that will be posted on our website and emailed out as we continue to walk through the story of Jesus looking at what Jesus was up to on those first days of Holy Week. Stay tuned and check back on our website for these special video devotions. You won’t want to miss them.
- Maundy Thursday- We are going to do a very special service for Maundy Thursday. As we remember Jesus gathering with his disciples in the Upper Room so long ago, we are going to invite you and your family to gather at the dining table in your house to join my family and I at our dinning room table for a special Seder Feast that walks us through what it might have been like to be with Jesus in the Upper Room. Attached is a copy of the shopping list that you will want to have so that you can fully participate in this special night. It can be accessed by clicking HERE. Please be prepared to eat your dinner as a part of this time as it is meant to be a time for family to gather around the table to eat, to remember, to celebrate, to worship, and to pray. It is going to be powerful to have this time together to remember God and his work both then and now. This meal may take up to 2 hours depending upon how much time you take in each part.
- Good Friday- We have put together a special service that I believe is going to be powerful inviting us into the story of that first Good Friday so long ago. It will be using different mediums to communicate the powerful message of the death and sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf. I believe this service will be a blessing to each of us.
- Easter Sunday- This service is going to be great and grand celebrating the greatest news of all that our Savior not only died for us but rose again and is victorious. This is going to be a pep rally for your soul. I can’t wait to hear each of you all over town wake up your neighbors shouting the greatest message of them all: Christ is Risen. Some have asked if we are cancelling Easter this year. The answer is NO! We can’t cancel Easter. It is a reality that we live and celebrate every day of our lives. This is going to be the biggest online service we have had yet. Get ready to celebrate! And once we get back to worshipping together in the sanctuary, we will have another great Easter celebration together, as truly every Sunday is a celebration of Easter.
Beginning, Easter Sunday we have a whole plan for rolling out daily ministry ideas to each of you built around our Adult Discipleship Road Map of Engaging people with a great God, Encouraging people within the context of community, Equipping people for lives of following Jesus, and Launching people into lives of ministry. There are some exciting ideas coming with that. Please stay tuned for coming attractions!
We want to continue to love and serve each and every one of you. If there is anything that you need, please feel free to reach out to me or the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org). We are here to help and serve in any way that we can. If you have prayer requests, please let us know and we would love to know the specific ways that we can be praying for you.
Please know that you are and will continue to be in our prayers. We can’t wait to be back together with you again. Until that time, “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May the Lord look upon you with favor and fill you with his perfect peace.”
In His Love,
Check back here for updates.