April 24, 2020
A Word from the Pastor
In our wilderness wandering, so often our eyes are kept from recognizing you.
Instead we focus on our fear, our sadness, our grief …
because our screens are filled with dire predictions, heart-breaking stories, and death tolls.
You try to remind us that we've been here before …
That you were there and still are here …
You try to feed us with bread that sustains …
But we don't see it, or it is too fleeting …
There are signs of the Rising … people making face masks, health care heroes, first-breaths after days on ventilators, extravagant generosity, shared art, spring's burst of new life …
Keep appearing, Risen One … don't stop walking beside us and urging us to follow you toward life …
to embrace your hope,
to see you,
and join with you as your Easter people.
By Rev. Erica Robinson-Johnson, Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop
Scripture: Luke 24:13-35
Of all the post-resurrection stories that we find in the gospels I think the story included in Luke 24 is my favorite. It has most of the things that matter to me in my life- walking, companionship, the opening up of scripture, and eating together- it doesn't get any better than this! Like the disciples of Jesus who experienced the Risen Christ while walking to the village of Emmaus on the afternoon of the first Easter, I too experience walking as time when God is present to me in ways that are not true otherwise. Although most people who walk primarily do so for their physical health and well-being, I find that walking for me is more about my spiritual health. When I walk I find that my heart, mind, and spirit become more open to God's presence and I not only feel better physically, but also feel invigorated spiritually as well.
Now, although I prefer to walk alone when I take my morning walks, when I hike (yes, there is a difference) I prefer the companionship of other hikers. To hike together is to share in a common experience that includes conversation, support, and the assurance of knowing that if anything goes wrong there is someone there to assist. For the disciples of Jesus, walking, talking, and grieving what they had just experienced in Jerusalem over the past few days, the opportunity to walk with this stranger, who seemed to know nothing of what had happened and yet, who seemed to know more than he let on, was a great comfort to them. Indeed, afterwards, when they had realized that they had been walking with the Risen Christ all along, they said to one another, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?"
As a person who "lives to eat", rather than "eats to live" I appreciate that it was in the sharing of a meal that these disciples came to realize that the one who had been their companion on the road was in fact the Risen Christ of whom they had heard earlier. In the breaking of bread their eyes were opened and what had been blurry previously became perfectly clear. Breaking bread with others has a way of doing that. To share a meal, especially when shared as part of a community of faith, provides an opportunity to experience the Risen Christ in our midst.
May you discover the presence of the Risen Christ in the ordinary events of your life today and in doing so may you experience the feeding of your soul and the companionship of the one who is with us always.
Your Companion on the Road to Emmaus,
4/26 The Third Sunday of Easter/ The Sixth Sunday in Exile
Special Music: Levitical Levites
Scripture: First Peter 1:17-23; Luke 24:13-35
Theme: The Risen Christ is Revealed in Table Fellowship. One of the most intriguing of all the Post-resurrection stories is the story of the travelers on the road to Emmaus who experience the Risen Christ without knowing it until he is revealed to them through their table fellowship. What are the implications of this story for us as we likewise sit down to eat together? What does it reveal to us about that most sacred of meals- holy communion?
Although we are no longer able to do the live streaming of our worship service from the sanctuary, Pastor Rich is live streaming a service from home which is available on-demand on Facebook shortly after the service. You can use the Facebook app on a smartphone, or a web browser on a computer. "Like" our page and you will be notified when we go live each Sunday.
If you choose to not use a Facebook login, you can still access the live stream during the service time from our web site home page by going to the box to the right (you may need to refresh the page if you arrive early). Previous worship services are available by scrolling down through the postings.
Please note that Pastor Rich is also live steaming a Wednesday morning devotional reflection each week as well. Just follow the directions above to watch it live or any time afterwards.
Giving During This Uncertain Time
Although we are scaling back most of our church activities which will reduce our expenses during this time, we still have staff who will be working- cleaning the church thoroughly; providing office assistance from home; offering music for our "virtual" worship services; providing pastoral care remotely, etc.- so we will still be incurring expenses that will need to be covered as best we can. To the extent that you are able please maintain your financial pledge or give regularly. Contributions can either be mailed in to the church or you can utilize our on-line giving options by going to the following web address:
Thank you for your on-going support, for your prayers, and for your faithfulness to God and one another.
AN INVITATION FOR VACATION WEEK FROM CAMP WANAKEE- WANAKEE FROM HOME
We are living through a difficult time. School closures and the uncertainty of how to navigate a global pandemic affects everyone, including our campers and their families.
With that in mind, Wanakee's staff, volunteers, and campers (!) have been bringing a little bit of summer camp light into your home through a range of interactive social activities. We hope to create joy, to build community, and to have fun through a new medium. Keep an eye on this page and our social media channels (Facebook / Instagram) to follow along (and join in)! The schedule for the week is typically posted by Sunday night.
Do you or your camper have ideas on how we can help, engage our community, or make you laugh? Silly things you'd love to see your favorite camp counselor do "live"? Songs you've always wanted to learn on guitar? Sketches of Wanakee scenes that we could share as coloring pages? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
We're here for you and thinking about you, today and everyday. We're in this together, and we'll get through this together.
LOGIN INFORMATION FOR UPCOMING EVENTS:
Wednesday 1:30 Earth Day Science with Luke - https://zoom.us/j/99591570455
Thursday 7:00 Middle School Game Night with Shannon and Hannah- https://zoom.us/j/94842585124
Friday 12 noon Social Lunch with Megan and Lilly- https://zoom.us/j/97072573197
Latest Upper Room issue available for free download
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Since churches are unable to meet and gather safely in their buildings during the coronavirus pandemic, The Upper Room is offering the May/June 2020 issue, both in English and Spanish, as a free, downloadable PDF. The Upper Room also has created a web page featuring resources to help create and maintain spiritual wellness during anxious times.
Please note that if you have any trouble downloading a copy of the May-June Issue of the Upper Room please e-mail the church office or Pastor Rich and we can send it to you electronically in pdf form.