A message from Pastor John on Easter Service.
What About Easter??????
First of all, thank you to all of you who have been keeping the Cabot United Methodist Church and your Pastor in your prayers. Jesus encourages us to pray and reminds us that prayer can make a tremendous difference in our lives and the lives of those around us. Jesus is a wonderful role model for us, often drawing apart (as we are now encouraged to do!) from His disciples to spend time alone in prayer. Also, please remember to pray for all those who are on the front lines in this fight against the Coronavirus: first responders, emergency room personnel, the doctors, nurses, and support staff working with those infected with the Coronavirus, and those working to find cures or vaccines. Thank you to all those who have offered words of affirmation and support concerning the video put together by Pierson Marlowe and George Scott. Your encouragement is greatly appreciated and we hope to do more of these videos in the future. Thank you to all those who are continuing to support the Cabot United Methodist Church by giving on-line or by sending your tithes and offerings to the church office. Even though we are not able to meet for worship, the church does have financial obligations which need to be kept current, and your support is greatly appreciated. For those who would like send in your offerings, the church address is: Cabot United Methodist Church, 707 Winfield Road, Cabot, PA 16023 and our website, cabotumc.com contains a link to help you support the church with on-line gifts. Also, thank you to our church staff as they continue to minister to our congregation and our community in a variety of usual and innovative ways in a time like no other in recent memory. We can never adequately compensate them for all the ministry they do on our behalf and the blessing they are to so many.
By now it has become painfully apparent that we will not be able to worship together on Palm Sunday, during Holy Week, or on Easter Sunday! I was so hoping and praying that we would be able to worship together at these special and meaningful times. I thought about having a drive-in Easter Morning Worship Service in the church parking lot, but our Annual Conference Leaders are advising against this as it would pull people out of their homes who otherwise would stay at home, as our state and national leaders are asking us to do, exposing them to risk of infection by the Coronavirus, and also tempting them to want to get out of their cars to greet or hug those they have not seen for so long. Now I am hoping and praying we will be able to get back to something closer to “normal” early in May. This being said, Palm Sunday will still be Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday will still be Maundy Thursday, Good Friday will still be Good Friday, and Easter Sunday will still be Easter Sunday! God is still God! Paula Scott sent some wonderful ideas for celebrating Palm Sunday to me. Among them was for each family of the congregation to cut a green branch and either hang it on their front door, or place it somewhere in their home where it could be easily seen and then talk about Palm Sunday when the crowds welcomed Jesus into Jerusalem, but also about how easily the people went from praising Jesus to calling for His crucifixion before a week had passed, and about how easily we can go from praising God to doubting God or becoming angry with God when things in our lives don’t go as we had hoped. (Maybe even a time like this!) During Holy Week you may want to look at the Passion Story (the betrayal, mock trial, and crucifixion of Jesus) from one of the Gospels each day, maybe spreading John’s account of the passion over two days because it is the longest account, and allowing the Scripture to speak to you each day. Perhaps we could all try to watch our Easter Video Worship at 10:00 am on Easter Morning!
Although this year we may not be able to celebrate Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday like we usually do, WE WILL CELEBRATE Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, including the Blossoming of the Cross, once we get to the place when we are permitted and it is safe for us to gather together for worship again. We may even gain a new understanding and appreciation for what it was like for God’s people to be in exile, away from familiar places, unable to worship at the temple, (as is currently the case for us!) and then finally their joy as God returned them to their homeland. As God sought to comfort and assure His people of His love for them, (read Isaiah 40, especially verses 27 – 31) and that He had not abandoned them, it is important for us to remember God has not abandoned us either. We may indeed draw new insights and come away with a deeper and fuller appreciation of how vital community worship is for us.
Because we will not be able to safely be together for at least the next month or so, many of our planned activities will not occur as scheduled, or may be handled differently than in the past, so please continue to look for emails, and check the church website for changes to the church calendar of events.
One other thing that I want to bring to you, as most of you know, Billie Smay will be 100 years old on April 11th of this year! Billie was so looking forward to celebrating that milestone with you at an open house, but that will not be possible at this time, sooooo could you please send Billie a birthday card so it will arrive around April 11th? Her address is : 615 North Pike Road, Cabot, PA 16023 I am sure a card from you will bring great joy to Billie. Wouldn’t it be great if Billie could receive 100 birthday cards for her 100th birthday!!!
May the Lord Bless you and keep you! May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you, and give you peace, forever. May God keep you and your loved ones safe and well!