Dear People of Christ,
Christ is with us. The church has made that cry since the beginning, and in such times as these it seems crucial. Christ is with us.
Wherever you are this week, you are not alone. As we begin the journey of Holy Week on Sunday, I encourage you to be at worship online and at home.
These days are our holiest days of remembrance, and though we cannot be together as we normally are, we can still worship together in “Spirit and truth” as Jesus told the woman at the well, “for such the Father seeks to worship him.”
There is a heaviness to this week on a normal year, but this is no normal year. We enter Holy Week with a heaviness that is not religious, but it is real. People are sick and dying and afraid and defiant. People are worried around the world about the novel coronavirus and the economy, their loved ones, and themselves.
We are told to not have fear. I would add not to let fear have you. Be smart. Be careful. Be wise. But, do not let fear overtake you. Build yourself up. Practice joy.
In the early church, Holy Week and the Passion were celebrated by contemplating the mighty acts of Jesus with joy and celebration, even though also with tears. This is our model for this year. As we ponder what Jesus has done for us in taking on sin and death this year, we want to think with minds that are clear and, yes, even joyful.
I am not happy that Jesus died. No, I grieve that he did because it was to answer that guilt I could not and cannot answer myself. But I am joyful because his act has made the world free to enter back into relationship with God, to face forgiveness and life, even in the face of death, because we know that we have peace with God.
The theme for Holy Week is obedience to God. But this is not the kind of obedience that is demanded, but rather given in love. It is in alignment with God’s intentions.
Maybe that is too lofty. It is doing what you know God would want you to do. This is the sense I get of Christ’s obedience to his Father. It was taking on death and sin because God never intended death and sin to rule over us. Christ was obedient, even to the point of death, death on a cross.
We begin the week with Palm Sunday, and we invite you to come by Christ Church tomorrow beginning at 8 am to pick up your palms by the great doors of the sanctuary if you are able (and not sick of course!)
Later this week, you will receive information for the holiest days, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Take part. Enter into this amazing week with us as we worship each night, as we study and ponder together, and as we serve in his name.
Families will have additional instructions from Shana. And Tim and I will be available by appointment for confessions during the week.
We are offering many different opportunities to be together online in the coming week, and your support and financial gifts make that possible. In this important time, do not forget your offerings to God and give as you are able. See the giving pages on the website for more information.
It is a strange year. Let us enjoy a deep but joyful Holy Week together.