Good Friday’s Service Bulletin can be  found HERE

Easter Sunday’s Service Bulletin can be found HERE

 

Message for Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday.

 

The 14th Century hymn “Media vita in morte sumus” reads as follows:

 

In the midst of life we are in death

From whom can we seek help?

From You alone, O Lord

Who by our sins are justly angered.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and merciful Savior

Deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

 

Lord, You know the secrets of our hearts;

Shut not Your ears to our prayers, but spare us, O Lord

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and merciful Savior

Deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death

 

O worthy and eternal Judge,

Do not let the pains of death turn us away from You at our last hour.

Holy God, holy and mighty, holy and merciful Savior,

Deliver us not into the bitterness of eternal death.

 

As of 3:30pm on April 9th, there have been more than 16,312 reported deaths in the United States from the coronavirus. 1,524 of these deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours.  Over 95,000 deaths have been reported worldwide. (For comparison, the CDC estimates that the H1N1 “Swine Flu” caused 12,469 deaths in the US from April 2009 to April 2010.)

 

Viruses are not alive. They are not malicious. They are not seeking us out. You can accurately think of them as little machines, doing what they are programmed to do – infect cells, and make copies of themselves.  The way to stop them is to break their process of replication – washing our hands and common surfaces to deactivate the virus; avoiding close social contact and wearing masks – all of this done not to protect ourselves but to prevent us from accidently infecting others.  Dealing with a virus that harms humans is really dealing with changing human behavior – and that is difficult in the best of times.

 

What we see in the mechanisms of this virus is something that Christians throughout the centuries have dealt with when confronted with diseases, plagues, and pandemics.  Disease is not the work of angry and capricious deities but the product of a broken Creation in revolt against a loving God. 

 

Romans 8:22-24 tells us that ‘…the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.’

 

Hence my quoting the “de Morte” at the beginning of this letter. It’s a hymn I occasionally read during committals after the funeral service.  Its been going through my head this entire day.

 

This is Holy Week. The next 36 hours appear to be the cumulation of the entire Lenten season. Today, Maundy Thursday, Jesus ate the last Supper and gave us Communion. Tomorrow, after his betrayal he is executed and rejected by a world in revolt against its maker.  Jesus’ death was not a product of a mere mechanical and chemical reaction but a deliberate act of orchestrated malice.

 

Today, we celebrated Communion 19 separate times with over 30 people.  Every time I stepped out of the church building to meet someone at their car – a homemade mask tied around my face, hands chapped from repeated washings, voice hoarse from praying and blessing – every time I opened the church door the de Morte flashed through my head. Every time we celebrated communion it was done not as an act of defiance against a broken world but as an act of relying on God’s mercy and love to sustain us even in the midst of brokenness. “In the midst of life we are in death…” – yet our Lord Jesus also provided for us, so that in the midst of death, we are given life. In the midst of the world, Jesus is shown to us, hidden in bread and wine.

 

Tonight, I encourage you to take a few moments and meditate on the Maundy Thursday message. Some Greeks approached certain disciples and asked to see Jesus.

 

Friday morning, I will post the Good Friday service – and we will hear how Jesus draws all nations (people)  to himself – even those nations who rejected him.  And in Jesus Christ, and only in Jesus Christ, all creation is gathered together and sacrificed to God and made new.

 

You can find both of those services HERE

 

  • Our sins? Jesus died because of and for them.
  • Our brokenness? Jesus died because of and for them too.
  • Viruses that endanger our lives and communities? Jesus died because of and for them too – so that the world can be remade, renewed, and redeemed in Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

Indeed, that is what we will celebrate on Easter Sunday – and urge you all to join with us on the radio in celebrating what God has done for us in Christ.

 

Today, celebrating communion, I saw again and again a foretaste of the festival that gets celebrated as Jesus draws all people and all of creation to himself.

 

Monday, we are going to do it again.

 

Communion is offered again this Easter Monday. You can sign up HERE.

 

I look forward to seeing you at the feast of life, even in the midst of a world in revolt against its loving God and Father.