Eblast – Sunday, March 29, 2020

First United Methodist Church ENews
Sunday, March 29
10:00am on Church Website 
or Facebook Livestream
Dear Friend,

In this last week of Lent, we are given a prophecy of the resurrection to come for Christ. But, before Jesus can get to the glory, there is a lot of suffering and sacrifice to be endured. Thinking of these passages in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, it seems that we are in an exile from the normalcy we knew. Everything has changed in a matter of weeks, or days. How do we find hope for return? We turn to the Scriptures, to Ezekiel, to Paul, to Jesus, and know that what is happening right now, what we are experiencing, is only temporary. The Spirit is eternal. While we wait in exile, we find signs of hope. Neighbors are checking in on each other. People are sharing resources to provide for those going without pay. We see the signs of hope for us now, and know that we put our trust in God.
Through Lent we have been called to journey with Jesus, to learn the steps of God’s life-dance from him, and we are not stopping now. It’s a challenging call, but, if we are to join Christ in his resurrection, we must also journey with him through the cross. Yet, even as we face the struggles and sacrifices of following Jesus, we will always find these moments of glory that sustain and strengthen us. We pray for those in the labs working on a vaccine and those who have volunteered to help. We pray for doctors and nurses who are on the front lines, caring for those who are sick. We do our part to help flatten the curve by staying home and maintaining physical distance while reaching out to our friends, family, and neighbors in other ways, and trust that God will see us through.
May our hearts be strengthened and prepared as we worship this week.
Ezekiel’s prophesy of restoration in which he sees a valley of dry bones, and is called by God to prophesy that the bones come together and be clothed again in flesh, and then that the wind/breath/Spirit blow into them and bring them alive. In this way, he proclaims, God will bring life and restoration to God’s exiled people.
A plea for mercy to God, with assurance that God does not keep a record of sins, but forgives, restores and rescues.

God’s Spirit, and the spiritual attitude that it nurtures, leads to life, and will enliven us not just in our spirits, but in our bodies as well.
Jesus, on hearing of Lazarus’ illness, returns after a short delay, to Judea, risking his own death, in order to raise Lazarus. After proclaiming himself as “the resurrection and the life” he raises Lazarus, and many people believe in him as a result.
Prayer
Revitalizing God, your power goes far beyond our own, and yet still we act as though the pains of this world have final claim upon us.
We give in to the despair and hopelessness of death, not trusting in your ability to call forth new life from the tombs of our lives.
Forgive us for doubting your power to raise up new life in the midst of all the deaths we experience.
Forgive us for wanting to limit you to “the last day” or “the world beyond this one”, not trusting you to move and act among us, within us, through us.
Forgive us, and open our eyes to the wonder of new life sprouting into being in our very midst, right now, right here. Amen.
Easter Flowers,
Easter is fast approaching, and the possibilities that we will not be together on Easter are more likely.
However, regardless the first Sunday we will gather, it will be Our Easter Celebration and we want flowers, color anything that invite for a celebration… so place your order and help set our chancel area.
Disregard the deadline on the order form.  You can make your donation on line or mail a check to the church.
Friends,
As we move to virtual worship, we can’t forget that bringing our gifts, offering is part of worship. We thank God that we still have the opportunity to do so even in these uncertain times. Please use this link Contribute to continue your contribution or to do a new one, or you can continue mailing your checks. Doing this we continue to bless the ministry we all love and care for.

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