On April 9, 2020 our campus will be closed until further notice
New Day has been closed for 2 weeks and our school/daycare will end on April,9. The office and food pantry are closed. All outside groups that meet on the campus during the week are no longer meeting on site.
All services, including the Maundy Thursday Seder and the Good Friday Tenebrae service will be shown via the internet and can be viewed by clicking HERE
[Please forgive the long email; have lots of info to share!]
God’s peace be to you! I pray that this finds you healthy and safe, and blessed in your self-quarantine and isolation. With the order of our Governor going into effect tomorrow (Friday), we will be going to a new level of “hunkering down” in order to help curb the ongoing spread of this virus.
With all of that, it becomes a certainty that our worship will need to continue via the internet. This is a great blessing for times such as these. The church has lived, and survived, other long stretches of not being able to meet together, or celebrate Communion together, and they did not have the opportunity that we have to do some form of corporate worship, even though it has to be by live-streaming.
Next week is Holy Week. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday will happen, regardless of any virus, regardless of anything. Nothing will stop that, just as nothing will stop Easter from happening. Nothing could stop Jesus from stepping out of that tomb. They tried. They couldn’t. And nothing, nothing, will stop him from being with you now. Nothing.
So, we will worship. On Maundy Thursday, we will celebrate the traditional Jewish Seder and point out and remember all the wonderful ways Jesus is seen and magnified and revealed, via the internet. I invite you to participate at whatever level you choose to. The first Passover was instituted in the context of quarantine. The Israelites were forced into isolation, sitting behind locked doors, celebrating this Passover while the plague to end all plagues was raging outside. The blood of the lamb on the doorposts saved them. It somehow seems significant that we gather in our homes next Thursday to observe this “night of all nights” and thank our Lord for the blood of the Lamb that brings us salvation.
The ingredients for the Seder are as follows: parsley, horseradish (for bitter herbs), salt water, matzo cracker, wine (or grape juice), water, and charoset. Charoset is a sweet mixture of apples and walnuts. There are many ways and recipes for charoset. It basically is a mixture of apples, nuts, raisins with some red wine, cinnamon and/or honey. The apples are finely chopped as are the nuts (walnuts or pecans). The nuts and raisins should be about a third of how much apple you’ve chopped. Mix, add red wine, cinnamon and honey to taste. It’s literally that simple, and yes, that delicious!
You’ll also need a plate, a glass for the wine, napkins. We will have a place set at the “head table” for Elijah, but if you want to set a place for him you are welcome to. Just a place setting and a pillow on the chair (because when Elijah shows up, he’ll be tired from the journey).
We will not be able to celebrate Holy Communion, which of course is the highlight of the evening, but we’ll do something at that point that hopefully will also be meaningful.
Traditionally when we gather together we include a meal, but this year we will not do that, and just have the service part of the Seder.
On Good Friday we will again participate in the traditional Tenebrae Service as we have in the past. In this service the church is gradually darkened as the seven last words of Christ from the cross are considered.
For this year, we will attempt to do a modified Tenebrae. The church will be darkened. There is usually a lot of singing in this service. That may be difficult, so we may substitute some more responsive readings and such.
For you at home, again you are welcome to participate to any level you desire or are able. One suggestion would be to pick out seven or so light fixtures that you can turn off as the service progresses so your home can be gradually darkened as the church is. It will take some fore planning on your part, but if it would make the service more meaningful, it might be worth the effort.
We are breaking new ground here and I have no idea how it will all work out. Just as an FYI, in over 30 years of doing this service I don’t think I’ve ever had one turn out 100% perfect when it came to this aspect (darkening the church). No matter to what degree you participate it will still be Good Friday. May you be strengthened in your faith and gratitude for all that Jesus went through for all of us on that awe-full day.
Any questions, feel free to email, text or call me. Blessings to you all!