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4-4-20 FUMC Update

Today on Facebook I posted an explanation of why our worship service tomorrow is so important. I have attached the audio and posted the message below.
 
In-Home Communion this Sunday, April 5 ~ As I told you a few days ago, we WILL have communion together on Sunday although you’ll be in YOUR home and I’ll be in church “with” you. Please create a sacred space (candle, bible, bread, juice, etc.) and have it ready so we may taste a taste of the heavenly banquet together! PLEASE TEXT OR EMAIL ME pictures of your space, or post your pictures before the service as the five-minute countdown begins at 10:45 a.m. 
 
Are You Ready for Bible Study? Monday, April 6, 10 a.m. ~
Download Zoom app and play with it; this video will show you how simple it is!
 
Topic: We Walk THROUGH the Valley!  23rd Psalm
 
To join Zoom Meeting CLICK HERE at 9:55ish
Meeting ID: 742 309 728
or
If you only want to call in dial: 253 215 8782 or 301 715 8592 US
Meeting ID: 742 309 728
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Tomorrow, Sunday, April 5, is the beginning of the holiest WEEK of the church year, and I want to share with you some BACKGROUND on the historically important and sacred event we’ll share together – a very UNIQUE Holy Communion experience.
 
This week begins with the joyful celebration of Palm Sunday tomorrow, and moves into a focus on the suffering, humiliation, and death of Jesus Christ. The week ends, of course, with the glorious Resurrection as we recognize the tomb WAS empty, but the promise of newness and life, COMES against the shadows and darkness of the Last Supper and Good Friday. Only in realizing the horror and magnitude of sin and its consequences in the world can we find JOY in accepting what Jesus did for us on the cross. Only in contemplating the ending and despair can truly understand the light and hope of Sunday morning!
 
I hope you’ll ALL share in the Palm Sunday service tomorrow because at the end we will ALSO have communion together, yes VIRTUALLY. In the Methodist church, we practice two Sacraments, two religious ceremonies or acts that are regarded as outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual divine grace by the presence of the Holy Spirit. We celebrate Baptism and Holy Communion because Jesus himself established these sacraments. Baptism was established when Jesus himself was baptized. Holy Communion was established during the Last Supper.
 
Sacraments center us and focus us on the presence of the Holy all around us, ushering and strengthening our relationship with God. And in this time of self-isolation and being separated from people we love and activities that we dearly miss. We need this relationship with GOD now more than ever, don’t we? But I do want to explain why the communion we will have together in our virtual worship tomorrow will be so beautiful but OH SO unique. Communion is not an individual, private sacrament! It is meant to be celebrated by the whole gathered congregation, faithful disciples physically surrounding Christ’s table with a credentialed pastor who has been called by God to preside sacramentally over the service, sharing together. The pastor brings the body of Christ together to SHARE the simple elements of bread and juice in a sacred, yet mysterious way.
 
Why are ONLY pastors given the precious responsibility to do this? Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 11:21-22. We see a very self-centered Lord’s Supper being practiced in ancient Corinth. Some were going ahead with a lavish meal, even to the point of drunkenness, while others were sneaking in at the last minute and receiving very little if anything. Paul tells them to correct their problem by following this simple rule: “So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another” (1 Corinthians 11:33).
 
Mark W. Stamm, in his book “Sacraments and Discipleship: Understanding Baptism and the Lord’s Supper in a United Methodist Context,” explains, “The rule requiring the pastor to preside at the Lord’s Table is an ancient discipline with a wise end in mind: It requires the church to ‘wait for one another’; that is, it requires the church to gather for Eucharist. Many spiritual disciplines DO retain their integrity when practiced by individuals and by independently organized small groups, but not the Eucharist. By its very nature, the Lord’s Supper must be a corporate experience. … Celebration of the Eucharist requires a pastor and a congregation.”
 
Well, because of COVID-19, there is a growing need to blend activities in physical places with digital spaces and so, in this new frontier for COMMUNITY faith formation, tomorrow, Sunday, April 5, and Thursday evening, April 9 at 6:30 pm, we WILL all be together, LIVE in WORSHIP as pastor and congregation. We will have communion thanks to a special dispensation given by Bishop McKee of our North Texas Conference to have virtual sacramental communion through this Holy Week only. Tomorrow is Palm Sunday and Thursday night is the night we will share with Jesus in HIS last supper before he was crucified the next day.
 
Please join us tomorrow for this historical, and what I HOPE will be a very holy experience. Please prepare a sacred space near your computer or phone or TV or wherever you will be listening. Maybe your bible, a candle signifying the light of Christ in your home, some cut evergreens or flowers reminding us everlasting life or the new birth of spring. And please have some a single serving of bread or crackers and juice for each person at the table. Your elements WILL be consecrated tomorrow during the service. And what a MAGNIFICENT mystery it will be.
 
If any bread and juice remain, please eat or drink it, or return it to the earth by pouring, burying, scattering.
Until tomorrow, SUNDAY, April 5, at 10:50 am.
 
Wash your hands … don’t touch your face … stay 6 feet apart … pray honestly … and trust in God.
 
CDC COVID 19 Symptoms andTesting: CLICK HERE
 
Debbie Lyons, Pastor