March 13, 2020
God of the present moment,God who in Jesus stills the storm and soothes the frantic heart;bring hope and courage to all who wait or work in uncertainty.Bring hope that you will make them the equal of whatever lies ahead.Bring them courage to endure what cannot be avoided, for your will is health and wholeness; you are God, and we need you. Amen.Adapted from New Zealand Prayer Book, p. 765
The past twenty-four hours have seen a lot of developments at all levels of our nation. Worship is suspended and the office is closed, but we continue to be the Church, the Body of Christ. I believe that as God has called us into unprecedented territory, God has also given us the gifts we need to meet the challenges we face.
You are invited to a service of Morning Prayer at 9 AM with fellow parishioners through Facebook Live. Emily Badgett will be preaching. You can join by accessing our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AllSaintsEpiscopalConcord. If you have already liked our page, then you should get a notification to join when we go live. If you do not want a Facebook account, simply answer ‘no’ when asked to open an account. You will still be able to access the service with out an account. The service will then be available on our feed after it airs live. You can follow along with this bulletin that you may choose to printout.
Jerrod Smith will use Zoom for his class on “Signs of Life-Why Church Matters” at 10 AM. This discussion is even more timely! You may join the class by clicking this link. You’ll need to enter Meeting ID: 221 697 426. You can also call from your landline (646) 558-8656 and enter the same Meeting ID. Long distance rates may apply in this case.
At 11 AM, the National Cathedral will stream Bishop Curry’s sermon and morning worship. You may join by clicking here.
Your church staff has been hard at work today ensuring that we will be able to come together to carry on the ministries of this congregation. All Saints’ has the capability to host “Zoom Meetings” and use technology to bring us closer. We are happy to share to support your ministry.
I can confidently tell you the ministry of this church will continue, in new ways, yes, but we at All Saints’ continue to be called by God and we will continue to respond to that call.
I invite you to participate in this work, to support one another with great love and care and to prepare to help others in need. Over the next weeks you can expect regular communication, ideas and resources. Reach out to those who you usually talk to on Sunday, check in with one another. Bear one another’s burdens and celebrate the blessings.
God will use this time in ways that we cannot even fathom at this moment. I close with words from our Senior Warden, Nancy Hunter:
February was my first formal Vestry meeting as Senior Warden. I was responsible for our opening meditation. I wanted to call your new Vestry to vision boldly and to not be afraid. Asking for help from the Holy Spirit, I was directed to 2 Timothy 1:7. “God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.” I couldn’t have know how important this short but powerful verse was to become a short three weeks later!
I was feeling the full force of Rev. Nancy’s message this morning. As I was sipping my coffee I looked at the paperwhite narcissus bulb from our ‘Lent in a Bag’, now in full bloom. I thought about what had happened to it over the past two days. Ours has two beautiful flower heads. The other day, one of the stalks had fallen over from being top heavy. I twisted it around the other one and both stood straight up again. The next day, the bulb itself had tipped over. I took the stone from our ‘Lent in a Bag’ and used it to prop the bulb back up. The lesson hit me this morning: When we feel the weight of not seeing each other for this short while, we can depend on the arms of God to wrap around us and hold us upright, to rely on the ‘by phone’ support of each other to be the rocks on which we depend for added strength through this time. Oh that Holy Spirit…
I’m sad when I think about not singing, not serving and most of all, not seeing you on Sunday for a couple of weeks. I am confident however, we will weather this storm with God’s help and be back together again before long!
Please continue to pray for all who are affected by this virus, for medical personnel who tend to them, and for our public health and government officials.
God’s peace be with you,