I went fishing the other day, with a church member who shall remain unnamed, and we caught nothing! Perhaps it was the wind, or fishing in a new place, or the ‘bait’ we were using. Perhaps the fish were following the ‘social distancing’ guidelines. But the day was not a waste because it was spent ‘in relationship’. Conversation about life, the future, this anxious time we are going through. I tend to believe I learned more about my father, grandfather and other significant people in my life on fishing trips (fill in your own favorite relational activity here) that in all the conversations that began with “Can we talk?”
For me, this has been the most difficult part of this season of pandemic. It makes doing the relationship thing even more difficult. It means that we have to be very intentional in creating moments where the ‘fishing trip’, the 2 mile walk, the recipe sharing become moments of ‘life sharing’. Think about who you are missing; reach out; provide the proper space/place and medium. Relate—which is what Christ came to do with us!
Three of my great uncles were bridge builders during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. They used to tell stories about working high above the Ashley and Cooper Rivers as they emptied into Charleston harbor. I asked Uncle Wilbert once if he was ever ‘scared’. He said “Sure, but you could hang your hat that somebody was watching out for you”. I wasn’t sure exactly what he meant, but my understanding was that he was talking about ‘trust’. Trust in the men who worked with him, trust in the safety net that was so far below that he said ‘you could not see it. This is what Jesus was speaking of to his disciples in the upper room on Easter evening, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed". In these times of uncertainty we can ‘hang our hats’ on this promise. Even though we may not be able to see, and what we do see is uncertain, Christ is ever present, ready to heal, forgive and save.
John 13: 1-7, 14-17
1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. 2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
Matthew 26: 17-30
17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?”
18 He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’” 19 So the disciples did as Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.
20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the
Twelve. 21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” 22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” 23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about
him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” 25 Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” 26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.” 27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” 30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
There is a lot to unpack here, and you are encouraged to reflect on these passages and the others suggested by the PCUSA (Exodus 12:1–4 [5– 10] 11–14; Psalm 116:1–2, 12–19; and 1 Corinthians 11:23–26) as well. A few things that stand out: the focus on service to others, the love for Christ and each other, and memory of Christ’s presence. This ritual of communion was instituted as a memorial to unify all Christians, and every time we partake in it, it is not only a reunion with other Christians but also with Christ himself.
As Southerners, we care about hospitality, particularly related to food. Part of the service, love and memory we offer each other has to do with breaking bread together. Share on our Facebook site a picture of your favorite meal with loved ones. If you have a picture of a meal shared within our church, please post that.
Today is Maundy Thursday and the worship service with a meditation and the communion liturgy has been posted for you to view. The instructions for celebrating the sacrament of Holy Communion ‘at home’ are very simple. Prepare some juice and bread (or crackers) and have them available for you to ‘share’ with those watching with you during the portion of the video where we celebrate the Lord’s Supper. This will be different. It may feel ‘not quite right’, but let me offer this word of encouragement, “the church is still the church, just ‘dispersed’ in many places”. You may use this video today, or at any time this weekend...as we lead up to Easter Sunday.
You will find the video, this afternoon...
On our YouTube Channel: FPCUSA Starkville
On our Website: http://secure-web.cisco.com/1TqZiKsmlFNCLXKVYPWWGTpuIsW3nSAEBfcpgp8irZ5SuBcd7o-lbcKdP0DbNim4punv0YqP5vEiE6T97V75Bhmf85kHdGTRUXtRgiSHhLeceZ0ZMpro1OKbEcsclpI8QVCBlWKqXc8IoA7G0LoNUk8fvb5bKE4IcNhdy2tw-nuNZwgUJ5Py_mHv-tFAWTJbo3XiwHNQXGrdrAyregC5Rai0NvHxYo7XK2A4E9wpi2twMRiQeO_1mZrwZE4BsRH8cWm4lV157VoDkshHUv6leALCEFm4VZldT4ILjJEKofXxyB6XUaNDjPcp7zqqeeSvWgUgIVUTpAgolJhGgzyF3FA/http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fpcusastarkville.org
On Facebook: Starkville First PCUSA
We have a new Facebook page! Starkville First PCUSA!
When you go to it....Make us your ‘Friend’ and “Share” the page with your ‘Friends’!
Note the Upcoming Events: Holy Week Devotionals. Thanks to Lynette McDougald and Cate Van Halsema for their work through the Christian Ed Committee to create the Facebook page and Holy Week Devotionals!
BE SURE AND READ THE DEVOTIONAL FOR SUNDAY, APRIL 5TH, PALM SUNDAY AND FOLLOW THE ACTION STEP...”Prepare a symbol of Palm Sunday for the entry to your home. Consider your front door or your mailbox. Announce a triumphal entry of Jesus into your home. If you’d like, share an image, video or comment on this post so all may see.”
The Session of FPCUSA met via Zoom on Wednesday, April 1st and voted to continue ‘suspension of all face-to-face activities until further notice’. Several people have asked, and as a reminder to the others, you may continue your faithful support of FPC PC(USA) by mailing your donations to:
Pat Colwick, Treasurer
1006 South Montgomery Street
Starkville, MS 39759
Please designate on your check, or by note, if some funds are for special offerings such as ‘2 Cents a Meal’, etc.
A former church member...who now has his own ministry, texts out a scripture verse every morning. This was one from earlier this week:
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of the deep waters” (Psalm 18:16 NIV).
The day he sent this verse, I saw on television the plight of a cruise ship with passengers crying out for some place to land. People around the world, in our nation, state and even in our own communities may be in the same ‘boat’. Crying out from the ‘deep waters’ of illness, financial distress, separation from those they love...you fill in your own ‘deep water’. What struck me about this verse was that God “took hold” of the Psalmist. God still hears our ‘crying out’...God still desires to ‘take hold’ of us. May he take hold in your life, in the midst of your deep waters.
|FPC PC(USA) Starkville, MS||