Anticipation

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Devotional for Monday, March 30

1 Corinthians 11:23-26
For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

Confession time: I’m a little frustrated. If you haven’t figured it out by now, yesterday did not go as planned. We were supposed to have online worship at 9 a.m. and drive-in worship at 10:30 a.m.

Unfortunately, about 5 a.m. a wicked storm cut through Ten Mile, taking down trees and power lines. Guess what? You cannot get online without an internet connection, and you cannot broadcast an FM signal without electricity.

Sigh.

It’s safe to say I’m not the only one wanting things to be as they were. It’s likely that our world will never be the same as it was before the COVID-19 crisis, but much will be familiar after.

We’re going to need a way to mark a return to familiarity. Note the root of “familiar”—family. Brothers and sisters in Christ, I’ve made a decision regarding how we will mark that day.

Communion. The Lord’s Supper. Eucharist. Call it what you want; this will be our mark. It is possible that during this crisis, we may see some relaxing of church rules prohibiting online communion, allowing me to bless bread and juice you set out at home. It’s also possible to hand out sealed juice-and-bread kits in a drive-in church setting. But I think we’re going to forego such options.

Please understand, I love leading communion. It is one of a few pastoral acts that can bring tears to my eyes. I long for the experience. We’re going to save it, however, for when we are truly together, in the meantime anticipating it. 

As we wait for the day, know that there are other “means of grace,” places where God will always meet us and show us extravagant, undeserved love. Open God’s word and read. Take time to pray. Be in fellowship as much as possible online and on the phone (assuming there’s electricity and internet).

The day will come when we stand in our sanctuary together and break out the bread and juice—the body and blood—give our confessions, accept God’s forgiveness, lift up the Great Thanksgiving and partake. On that day, we will rediscover something like normal, and we will revel in it.

Lord, return to us the day of communion, that day of holy sacrament, very, very soon. Amen.

Sunday, March 22 Worship

Our 10:30 a.m. online worship this Sunday will be technically similar to what we did last Sunday, with a few small enhancements. Here are instructions for joining from computer, smartphone or a regular telephone. If you want to visit with each other a little, the room will come online about 10:15 a.m.


Luminary’s Online Worship Room

Join from your computer, tablet or smartphone:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/607049869

Dial in using your phone:
United States: (646) 749-3122, Access Code: 607-049-869

This link will take you to a smartphone app:
https://global.gotomeeting.com/install/607049869


From Blindness to Boldness

Above is a movie depiction of our Sunday Scripture, John 9:1-41, Jesus’ healing of the man born blind. Take time to watch it before Sunday’s service.

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Pastor Chuck in Luminary’s temporary “Worship Central.” He misses you all and would rather be in the pulpit.

 

Closure Extended

Holston UMC Bishop Virginia Taylor has announced that church closures will continue until further notice.

I know this is difficult and painful for many of us to absorb. As your pastor, I was fairly certain this extended closure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic was coming, and yet I was surprised at how hard its reality struck me when word arrived.

It is hard to adjust to the idea that times are going to be different for awhile, but we will eventually be able to return to our normal worship and fellowship. In the meantime, your worship planning team is working to improve the online worship experience each week, using the resources we have and looking at tools we may need to acquire.

Pray! That is the most powerful act we share right now, to be together in prayer. I will continue our daily devotionals, and let’s use those as our community prayer guide. An early theme there has been to remember those in particular need of a phone call or other form of communication. Several of you have already stepped up to ensure the special needs of people in our community are met.

I’m praying for you. Please be praying for all of Luminary’s leadership as we continue to be the church in a time of crisis. Do not be shy about contacting me. My e-mail is cwgriffiniii@gmail.com, and my cell phone number is (423) 491-0506.