April 17, 2020
See Jesus. Show Jesus. Share Jesus.
The Heart of the Matter
Easter is more than a single day - it's a season! Through the Easter season from now until Pentecost, we'll change our worship format a bit as we get to "The Heart of the Matter" - a series we are adapting from Dr. Marcia McFee's Worship Design Studio. If you remember the Advent series built around "Silent Night" a couple of years ago, you've already experienced how Marcia encourages us to engage with worship elements in unique ways. This is a series you'll want to share with your friends, so be sure to share the links to our Facebook page, our YouTube channel, and our website.
The series is built around Acts 2:27-28 - "Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people." Spending time together, eating with glad and generous hearts, praising God, and showing goodwill create the framework for each service.
You will want to gather a few things for your own worship space for Sunday morning:
Food - Plan to eat your breakfast (or, if you're like a Hobbit, your 'second breakfast') while we worship - it's built right into the service! Just as the early church gathered around a meal, we'll enjoy a virtual potluck. As we break bread together, we'll also break open the Word of God, so we can be nourished both in body and spirit.
A candle - You may want to use the same candle that graced your Good Friday worship or Easter morning table.
A stone for each person - This should be a stone that fits comfortably in the palm of your hand, like a 'worry stone.' You may want to decorate your stone with acrylic paint or permanent marker. Since our theme is heart-centered, you might create a heart-shaped design on your stone. Your stone will be part of each worship service, so you'll want to keep it and your candle in a place where you will see it throughout the week.
The service will be 'premiered' on both Facebook and YouTube at 9:30 AM Sunday. Let's gather as those first Christians did - in our homes, around the table. See you on Sunday!
Masks for Minnesota
We still don't know how long it will be before we can worship in person together, but we do know that it will be months before the greatest danger of corona virus infection is past. In the meantime, there are things we can do to protect one another and show compassion. Toby Freier met in a video conference with local pastors recently, and remarked that the response to the medical center's request for masks was so great, they are looking for ways to distribute masks to the most vulnerable members of our community, to wear when they must leave their homes, and that got me thinking...
Some of you are already making masks, and all of us should be wearing them when we are in public. But what if we began a mask-making campaign to create cloth face masks for every member of our congregation (and for every visitor that might join us, once we can worship in person again)?
This week, the conference put out a call to make 'masks for Minnesota' and offered lots of information on how mask-making could become an important ministry to our community.
There are many aspects of this pandemic that can make us feel helpless. I'd like to offer this project to you as a way you can 'do something.' Here's a three-minute tutorial. Let me know what you think, and how you'd like to help. We can do this, church!
A final word...
How is it going with your soul? During these long days of isolation and social distancing, how are you holding up? Are you finding, as many of us are, that 'working from home' brings unexpected challenges? Are you among those, as many of us are, whose income has decreased - or disappeared? Are you working harder and longer hours? Are the kids doing okay? Are you afraid? Are you exhausted? Are you starting to wonder where God is in all of this?
God is here. With you now. Present in ways you might not recognize, but always, always with you. And this church embodies that presence. We are here for each other. Keep that in mind the next time you feel alone or worried. Reach out, and this church will be here for you. Because that's who we are, in Jesus' name.
I'm praying for you, Church.
Pastor Jo Anne