This year has felt like we’re living upside down. Our whole world has changed in a way that most of us never imagined possible. We have experienced turmoil, tension, and loss and, as a result, we have experienced the deep grief that comes with these. One scripture that I have returned to throughout this year comes from Paul’s letter to the Romans where he compares what’s happening in the early Christin church to that of labor pains being experienced by the whole of creation (Romans 8:18-30). Paul explains that creation suffers from decay and bondage brought on by poor human decisions; and creation, like all followers of Christ, groan inwardly as we wait and as we work tirelessly for what is right and good and just.
Most days, I feel this scripture deep in my bones. I feel like we are all experiencing the collective labor pains of our world and of our personal lives turned upside down. We are groaning from the pain and suffering that 2020 has wrought. In the midst of our collective struggle, Paul reminds us that the Spirit of God is with us, especially now. It’s that Spirit that intercedes for us when we are all out of tears, when there are no words left to speak, when all we have left are our sighs of despair. And it is that Spirit that sustains us with hope for a better tomorrow.
As we wait with hope for a better tomorrow, I have a couple of opportunities to draw us closer to God and to one another. You can read about both of those below in this email. I pray you’ll commit yourselves fully to participating in these opportunities as we walk this road of faith together, guided by the Spirit.
Living in Hope,
Rev. Malinda Weaver
All Saints – Worship on the Lawn
This Sunday is All Saints Sunday. It is the Sunday in the Christian calendar when we remember our loved ones who’ve died and who now rest from their labors in God’s loving arms. This year, we have many beloved saints to remember. I’d also like to take this opportunity to express our collective grief as we mourn the hopes, dreams, and goals that have been deferred or lost as a result of the events of 2020.
During Worship on the Lawn this Sunday at 9:00am, we will spend time giving thanks and remembering by name all of our losses. There will be a bell tree with ribbons where you can pin a bell in memory of a loved one(s). The gentle sound of the tinkling bells in the breeze will remind us of the singing of the saints in glory. Please make plans to arrive a few minutes before worship if you would like to pin a bell in memory of someone.
We’ll also dedicate a beautiful tree to be planted in our garden as a living reminder that even in death, new life is always present and emerging. Finally, we will share Holy Communion with those present and with those who have gone on before us.
As always, all are welcome to join us for this meaningful time of worship and remembrance. A few things to note:
- Please bring your own communion elements this Sunday. The church will not provide the bread and juice as we remain committed to limiting our physical contact with people outside our households. If you do not have bread and juice, bring something from your pantry such as crackers and water. The quality of the elements is not as important as is that which they represent – the body and blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I will consecrate everyone’s elements through our Communion liturgy, and then we will each partake in what we have brought for the Lord’s Supper. If you would like a recipe so you can bake your own communion bread, click here.
- Please make a reservation for you/your family to join us so we can prepare for our worship to remain safely socially distanced.
- We require everyone to wear a mask.
- Bring a lawn chair(s) or blanket for you/your family.
If you’re unable to join us for Worship on the Lawn, we will have online worship available at 11:00am this Sunday morning on our Facebook and YouTube pages. To worship with us via YouTube, click here. To worship via Facebook, click here.
“Every day there are reasons not to feel grateful. Terrible, distressing, painful, and awful things happen all the time. Yet gratitude is a defiance, of sorts, the defiance of kindness in the face of anger, of connection in the face of division, and of hope in the face of fear. Gratefulness does not acquiesce to evil—it resists evil.”
~Diana Butler Bass
During the month of November, our worship and stewardship focus will be on gratitude. When we make a conscious effort daily to notice those things and people for which we are grateful, our minds and spirits are lifted, and we can find peace with God in the midst of life’s storms. Thus, I’ve created a 30 Days of Gratitude calendar. I’m challenging each of you to print out this calendar or pick one up this Sunday at Worship on the Lawn. For each day in November, there is a simple prompt to get you thinking and to help you Choose Gratitude. Look for more information coming next week as we explore what it means to Choose Gratitude in all aspects of our lives.