Thoughts on gardens, produce bags, and who it all belongs to…
Lord, you give us the joy of celebrating Easter again and again throughout this season. Give us also the joys of life in your service, and bring us at last to the full joy of life eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In keeping with Governor Northam and Bishop Lewis, we will not be gathering in-person so long as there is a stay-at-home order. Which, as of today, is at least until June 10th. The cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in our community and across the country so please, as much as is possible, maintain social distancing, excellent hygiene, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Until we are back together in person, online giving can be made on our About page on the church website, cokesburyumc.church which will be linked in the video description for live worship as well as checks through the mail.
We’ve been sending out regular emails from the church about opportunities for online Bible Studies, devotionals, prayer requests, and updates on our local community. If you are not receiving those emails, and would like to, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hymn 249 – Turn Your Eyes upon Jesus
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.
Lord, you are unified within the community of the Trinity: Grant us the grace and peace so to dwell with others in the spirit of your bond, such that no matter who we are, and no matter what we’ve done, we might know there is a place for us at the table, always…
And as you taught us, so now we pray… Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Scripture: Acts 2.42-47
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
Hymn 368 – My Hope Is Built
V1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’s name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
V2. When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
V3. His oath, his covenant, his blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
V4. When he shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in him be found!
Dressed in his righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne!
Lord, in the mystery of dying and rising with Christ you have upended the world and brought life, new life, to your church. Breathe upon us again with your Spirit and give new life to your people, be with those who are not able to be with their families and friends this day, give us the strength and the wisdom to be the kind of people you’ve called us to be, and give us the hope to rejoice knowing that death has been defeated in you. Amen.
Offering – Reminder for online giving, through the mail, or the drop slot at the church.
I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; And in Jesus Christ his only son our Lord: who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; the third day he rose from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
Parties are theological categories. The Bible itself ends with a giant party: the marriage supper of the Lamb and his Bride. It’s a celebration of the wedding between God and God’s finally reconciled creation. Jesus himself spent most of his ministry at parties, both large and small. His first recorded miracle in the Gospel of John was turning water into wine so a wedding feast would keep on going late into the night. He was regularly ridiculed by the religious and governing authorities for all of his meals with sinners. And, finally, some of the most important things Jesus ever said were told in parables about parties.
Throwing a party right now isn’t a good idea. We need to be very careful about who we are around, we need to maintain our physical distance, and we need to protect those with more-vulnerable immune systems.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t party.
This week, in order to reflect on and live into the reality of the early church in Acts, seek out ways to exhibit a party spirit. This might mean putting on some music that puts you in the mood for dancing, or cooking that special meal that takes way too long to cook, or simply using the nice china that has collected a visible layer of dust in the display case.
Jesus himself has already started the party long before we are invited to the table, and when we find him there he’s already listened to the first side of his favorite record, decanted the right bottles, and has food out on the table.
When we enact our own party spirit, we participate in the kingdom Jesus came to inaugurate.
Blessing and Benediction