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HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN, INDEED!

I am going to miss greeting you in person with that exclamation of Easter’s message, but we will still proclaim the risen Christ Easter morning as we worship together online. If you join with me as we intentionally step into the morning when the tomb was discovered to be empty and we celebrate the reality of God’s promise fulfilled on that morning, then we are in worship as one body.

It is exciting to see people joining us from across the valley and around the country as our online attendance grows by leaps each week and this is the gift of technology amid our physical distancing. Nothing, no one, no principality, no power can keep us from celebrating Easter!

CommunionI have decided that we will celebrate Holy Communion on Easter. I have watched other pastors and conferences wrestle with this notion of a “virtual” communion, and many have decided to withhold communion until we are physically together. I understand the theological position that unless we are physically together, we cannot truly share that communion of the body gathered.

In our context, for two years, we have been livestreaming to homebound and the distanced who often have no other means of worship with a church family. Now, we are all homebound. Does this mean that we are no longer One Body of Christ? Are we not able to greet one another by phone, across the hallway, over the fence or across the lawn?

Have we been kept from proclaiming the good news of Jesus? In our physical distancing, have we lost the ability to “Be the Church”? NO! Absolutely not. Even when the church was in deep persecution, followers of Jesus shared the bread and the cup in clandestine caves and the deep forest.

On World Communion Sunday, we celebrate as one small part of the entirety of the Body of Christ who, around the globe, are also sharing communion even though we are dispersed and so, Easter Sunday, we will share in the bread and cup.

Here’s what you need to prepare:
  1. Before we begin worship on Sunday prepare some bread, a slice of bread or a dinner roll is fine. Some of you may chose a flatbread or even a tortilla. Have a small cup of juice as you prefer for each person. While I would normally invite you to serve one another where two or more are gathered, today we will serve ourselves.
  2. Place the bread and cup nearby where you will be participating in our worship.
  3. Cover your bread and cup with a napkin or paper towel to keep them clean until we are ready. After the blessing and consecration of the bread and cup, I will invite you to take them in your hands and together, across the miles, we will share the bread and then immediately drink the cup.
  4. Consume all the bread and drink so that none is wasted but if you are unable, place the remaining bread outside for the birds and drain your cup onto a plant.

Perhaps this Easter, as we worship from the safety of our own homes, will know how precious our salvation is. Perhaps, as we share in communion, we will understand the depth of the Passover Seder when Jewish families celebrate what God has done. Perhaps this Easter, Christ will become more real, more personal, more powerful, more.

 Pastor John

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