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Easter, Worship & Abundant Life

After a faithful Lent and a deep Holy Week, Easter morning’s hallelujah’s were joyful and jubilant!  We welcomed 93 in our sanctuary that day, which is our largest gathering since the pandemic.  I wanted to share some of my thoughts about worship and Easter.

First off, we are in the Season of Easter, this Great Fifty Days for the church to rejoice in the saving work of Christ on the Cross and God’s raising of Christ from the dead.  For 50 days we receive that gift and contemplate its meaning in our lives, both now and in the life to come.  We consider the great gift of life, both abundant and eternal. 

And yet, isn’t every Sunday an Easter Sunday?  Every time we gather around the Lord’s Table, we celebrate the savings acts and presence of Christ.  We lift up the victory of Christ over the grave and receive the gift of that victory as our own.  Especially for us Disciples, the Lord’s Table is essential for worship and for our living lives abundantly.

We have spent the last three years thinking about worship in two categories: in-person and online.  Worship is our offering to God, and it should be our very best, and I think our very best worship is offered together in person around Christ’s Supper.  While I think on-line worship is possible, it is very hard to do well.  What we were offering online was, to use a metaphor, an open window that allowed folks to peer inside and watch from a distance (not a bad thing).  Yet, the audio and video quality of that viewing experience was not the best.  There was no opportunity for those online to engage with us.  There was no way to recreate serving the bread and cup of our Lord to our friends online.  More practically, the number of people willing and able to run the system that provided online worship was only two (and they are both busy teenagers).  There are theological and practical challenges to continuing livestreaming our worship online. 

Yet, our streaming worship online shared many positives!  We reached an untold number of people.  Joining along with us became a gift to those who couldn’t be present with us due to time, distance or health.  I have actually heard from a handful of our folks who miss getting to watch our worship online, so I know it made an impact!  I do think that a church having an active online presence is a great tool for outreach, evangelism, and care.  As I understand it, our online worship experience was a gift, but it was not a full experience of the church’s worship. 

We are still committed to maintaining an online Sunday experience.  Every week we are posting “Sunday Sermon and Song” on Facebook and YouTube.  (We’re crowdsourcing the name, so let me know if you have a clever one!  Sunday Sharing or Sunday Morning Bytes are a couple I’ve heard suggested) Like worship, it will include the gifts of our people being offered to God and for the edification of God’s people.  It will include the visual gifts that Jennifer brings.  It utilizes the creative musical talents of Mary Jo.  Geneva and both choirs will share their musical offerings.  Hopefully individual members will offer readings, art or words.  These offerings are around 15 minutes in length (much more manageable to experience online than a full hour).  It is a quality, regular and timely devotional aid for those who seek it.  It is evangelistic in nature, as each one includes an explicit invitation to join us for the full worship of God and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. 

Since the change took place on Palm Sunday, the number of views and reach are actually up.  A month into it, we can say for sure that this is quite harder to do than simply livestreaming Sunday worship, but I’m trusting that the time and effort will be worth it towards our Kingdom work. 

Joining as the Body of Christ for worship is one way to live this abundant life that Jesus offers us (John 10:10).  For me, it is essential!  Also, for me, it is such a joy to be with you all on Sunday mornings.  It is my hope that we will embrace the weekly discipline of in-person worship (as we are able) and that we continue to find new and exciting ways to “be and share the good news of Christ Jesus from our doorsteps to the ends of the earth.”

                        Blessed Abundantly,


                                        Rev. Kenny

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