We’re not having our regular Good Friday service tonight, but here’s a video of the Stations of the Cross from Rev. Melissa Gepford, Great Plains Conference Coordinator for Intergenerational Discipleship.
I’ve been busy working on arranging audio clips that volunteers have sent in for our Tenebrae Service tonight (Thursday, April 9, 2020). Tenebrae means darkness, and this is a service in which fifteen candles are extinguished as the passion story according to the Gospel of John is read. We’ll livestream the service in all the regular places tonight at 7:00 p.m. Sadly the service will not be broadcast on the radio. The livestream will remain up, and the service is also appropriate for Good Friday if you’re reading this post a day late. The bulletin for tonight can be found at abilenefirstumc.org/bulletin/.
If you can locate 15 candles in your house, you’re welcome to begin the service with them lit up and put them out one by one after each reading. Tonight’s readers are Angie Hoerner, Kent Wyatt, Velda Becker, Ward Turnbull, Sandi Dutt, Jensen Woodworth, Brooke Woodworth, Jason Woodworth, Carson Woodworth, Liz Collins, Clark Williamson, Wendy Robinson, Mary Jo Miles, Beth Holmes, Jenny Collins and myself. We hope you can tune in.
Not only is Easter not cancelled, but our Holy Thursday Service of Tenebrae is still going forward as well. It will be this Thursday (April 9, 2020) at 7:00 p.m. You can watch online on the church’s Facebook page, but unfortunately this service will not be available on the radio.
On Easter Sunday (April 12, 2020) we will be livestreaming our 10:30 worship service. You can watch it on the church’s Facebook page at facebook.com/abilenefirstumc/. You can also listen live on KABI 1560 AM. Want a bulletin to follow along? You can find one here: https://abilenefirstumc.org/bulletin/.
If you took the “This Holy Mystery” study on Holy Communion a while back, you might remember that there are certain specific requirements for celebrating Holy Communion and that some of these requirements cannot be met with online communion.
Well, extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. Following the lead of our Bishop, we’ll be celebrating communion via the livestream, not this Sunday (March 29, 2020), but the first Sunday of next month (April 5, 2020).
I’m giving you this heads up so that you can make arrangements for bread and grape juice, if possible. If you can’t make arrangements for bread and grape juice, then bread and water or crackers and water will work just fine. If you would like some delivered, let me know, and I’ll see what we can do. I plan to talk more about the theology and the logistics in this Sunday’s livestream and radio broadcast.
I’ve know Pastor Neil Gately since his beard was brown. He and his wife (and co-pastor), Bridget Gately pastor at the First United Methodist Church in Norfolk, Nebraska. They are doing a hymn of the day. In this case, he’s singing the hymn “When We Are Called to Sing Your Praise” to the tune “House of the Rising Sun.” The combination works exceptionally well.
We’re live streaming “The United Methodist Home Companion” this Sunday, March 22, 2020, at 10:30 a.m. You can watch via our facebook page, listen on KABI 1560 AM, or try going to bit.ly/3b6snWi. This new website will mirror the facebook live feed, but will do so on a webpage that is easier to get to (hopefully).
For this coming Sunday’s edition of “The United Methodist Home Companion,” I’m planning on talking about Mark 4:35-41. That passage tells the story of Jesus calming the storm with the words “Peace! Be Still!” Below is He Qi’s portrayal of that event. I like to look at this painting in times of turmoil, so I’m sharing it with you today.
Please note that the image above was used with (paid) permission. You can find more of He Qi’s art at www.heqiart.com/.
We’ll be celebrating Holy Communion this Sunday. Whenever something is going around or in the news the way Covid-19 Coronavirus is right now, it’s natural to get a little bit concerned about communion. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on (which included an expensive subscription to a medical journal), and I’m convinced that there is nothing to worry about, but I know that some folks are uncomfortable. Either with communion or the passing of the peace. Please don’t stay home from church for those reasons.
If passing the peace makes you uncomfortable, remember that we are bumping fists and knocking elbows. If that’s not enough, (or if you are an introvert), simply come to church at 8:20 or 10:35. (I am introverted enough that if I were not your pastor, I would come to church at 8:20 or 10:35.)
If you’re worried about communion, you can come up to the front of the sanctuary with your arms crossed, and Jenny and I will simply give you a blessing (without physical contact) instead of the body of Christ. You can also, as has always been the case, remain in your pew, and the two of us won’t think anything about it.
Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday (February 26, 2020). We’ll have two services. The first will be at 12:15 p.m. and the second will be at 5:45 p.m. The second service will include communion. Neither service should last more than 30 minutes.