Week 3 of “Stay at Home”
It seems like it’s been months since things were “normal”. Yet it seems just like yesterday. It makes me think of the way the scripture talks about time.
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8
Our days are long as we try to come up with a new routine
- kids doing school at the dining room table.
- zoom calls with our colleagues at work, and our small groups from church.
- getting outside whenever the sun comes up.
- going to the grocery only once every 10 days or asking our neighbors to pickup for us or learning how to use Instacart.
- going to the doctor online.
- attending church in our pajamas.
First, let me say again. I pray for you daily. If you have any pray needs, please reach out to me. Respond to this email or email us at email@example.com. The coronavirus may have changed our lives, but it doesn’t rule our lives. We hold on to…
Our sure hope that God has redeemed us…
Our confident trust that God will never leave us…
Our real faith that God holds our future even, and especially, in uncertainty.
How grateful I am to hold onto these… and what joy it is to live them. I am seeing an openness to the faith through email, tv, and social media that I have not seen in my lifetime. I know God will use you and GRACE church to guide people to their own hope, trust in faith …because God so loved the world that He sent Jesus.
I have seen people around the country suggest that maybe we should put off Easter until churches can get back together. While I understand the disappointment, I couldn’t disagree more. We have never needed Easter more than now. We can’t have hope, trust or faith without resurrection. So, we carry on and this Sunday begin Holy Week. Here are the services that will help us all walk with Jesus into Jerusalem and to the cross.
Palm Sunday- Services will again be at 9 and 10:30 am. I want to give a special invitation to all of you- and especially our GRACE kids to find a branch from your yard and be ready to wave your branches as we read Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. We will have to imagine our donkey this year! Sunday, in both services, we will also celebrate GRACE’s birthday (it’s been two years since we took on our new name after beginning our tabernacle season) and We will interview one of GRACE’s own police officers so we can more specifically pray for people in our congregation on the front line.
Maundy Thursday. Service at 7 pm. We will take communion together as a part of this service just like Jesus took the first Communion at Passover. Please have your own bread and cup ready to participate. After communion, we will experience a Tenebrae Service, reading the Passion Scriptures and ending in darkness…
EASTER Sunday Services at 9 and 10:30 am. Invite your friends to join us for resurrection. Share our Easter invite on Facebook and Instagram. And to make our online gathering a little more personal, we would love for you to send us a picture of you or your family. We will use those at the beginning and the end of the services. Send those in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with our services…. See my PS for a reading plan to guide you through the scripture readings. I’ll be reading those over Facebook live every morning at 10 am through holy week. Our world is changing, but our mission to celebrate the resurrection and invite people to know and show the grace of Jesus Christ has not changed.
I am so grateful for your generosity in your life and in your financial commitments to GRACE. Many of you have moved over to giving online or have mailed your checks in! You are enabling our mission to continue strong. Along with our weekly ministries continuing, this week you gave 33 tents, 25 sleeping bags and 20 backpacks along with an SUV full of supplies for our homeless population who have no place to “shelter in place”. In addition, due to your generosity, we have sent $1615 dollars to our partner school, Freemansburg Elementary, to provide internet hot spots so that online instruction is accessible to all of the students there.
Thank you for continuing your giving. It is so important that our church remain strong now but also strong on the other side of this season. I know that some are facing economic challenges now and others are anticipating them. So alongside your generous giving, we continue to evaluate our spending to both steward our finances wisely and continue our mission and ministry. As I said earlier, I am convinced that people are more open now and will be more open over the next months to asking spiritual questions and making faith commitments. As you are able, you can make your gifts online at www.gracecb.org/give .
What a privilege it is for all of us to get to serve the Lehigh Valley and to invite them to find and follow the Jesus that came for us all.
With resurrection hope,
Dr. Marnie Crumpler
Holy Week Scripture Readings
I will be on Grace’s Facebook page live at 10 am Monday-Saturday to read these with you.
Palm Sunday: Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a colt (Matthew 21: 1-11). He is accompanied by crowds of people who create a path for him with their cloaks and branches cut from trees.
Monday: Jesus drives the money changers from the temple and spends the night in Bethany (Matthew 21 :12-17).
Tuesday and Wednesday: Jesus continues to teach in Jerusalem (Matthew21 :18-26:16). The chief priests and Jewish religious elders form a plot “to arrest Jesus in some sly way and kill him” (26: 1-5). Judas agrees to be a conspirator and to hand Jesus over to them (26: 14-16).
Thursday: Jesus has his last meal during his earthly ministry with the disciples. He washes the disciples’ feet and institutes the Lord’s Supper or Communion. After teaching and encouraging them, he goes to Gethsemane, where he prays in anguish. He is arrested by the Jewish temple police and is taken to the Sanhedrin, where he is condemned (Matthew 26:17-75).
Good Friday: Jesus is shuttled between Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas. Pilate finally orders Jesus to be beaten and then crucified. Jesus dies in the late afternoon on Friday. Around sunset, Jesus is buried in the tomb (Matthew 27:1-61).
Saturday: Jesus rests in the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66).
Easter Sunday: Jesus is alive (Matthew 28:1-15).
Praying for each of you in your walk with Jesus to the cross. And praying for our community and our world to be especially open to the hope of the resurrection this year.