Holy Week Opportunities
Each year, I invite you to see Holy Week as an opportunity to focus your hearts and minds on the last days Jesus walked this Earth before his death and resurrection. It is an invitation to reflect on your own spiritual journey and how God is inviting you into a deeper relationship with Him. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the far-reaching impact it has had on our world physically, emotionally, economically, relationally, and spiritually…this invitation to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus (Heb. 12:2) seems more important now than ever before during our lifetimes.
I also understand that there is a certain grief that comes with not being able to be together in person during these holy days. We will deeply miss handshakes and hugs, celebrating Holy Communion, baptisms and new members joining, and even seeing everyone in their “Easter best”. However, I want to encourage you that it is critical we remember that social distancing does not mean we can’t be in community. I think of the Apostle Paul, writing letters from a prison cell, but still celebrating deep community with these words: “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5 NIV).
So, even though the methods we are using during this time may be new, non-traditional, or outside your comfort zone, I want to invite you to lean into Holy Week with the same commitment and excitement that you always have. Don’t just participate yourself, keep the same invitational spirit that we seek to have throughout the year, but especially at Easter. Share these resources with your family, friends, and neighbors and welcome them to join us on this journey. Part of our DNA at St. Matthews UMC is that we are a church that says “yes” when opportunities arise to follow Jesus and reach people in new and creative ways. I am inviting you to say “yes” again.
Below is a list of all the Holy Week opportunities we are offering, a short description of each service, and exactly how to access each resource. In addition to the worship videos, we will continue to provide children and youth ministry resources, as well as family discussion guides to use at home. Also included here are instructions on how to subscribe to our Facebook pages and YouTube channels and set up notifications so that you will automatically receive an alert when we publish new material.
Palm Sunday, April 5th
Maundy Thursday, April 9th
On Maundy Thursday, we will be inviting you to celebrate a “Love Feast” in your home. “The Love Feast, or Agape Meal, is a Christian fellowship meal recalling the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his ministry and expressing the koinonia (community, sharing, fellowship) enjoyed
by the family of Christ…The Love Feast has often been held on occasions when the celebration of the Lord's Supper would be inappropriate—where there is no one present authorized to administer the Sacrament” (umcdiscipleship.org). So, we will be sending out a podcast and handouts to guide you in the Love Feast and ask that you please have bread or crackers and water available to celebrate.
We will also be focusing on the meaning of Maundy Thursday. Maundy comes from the Latin phrase, “mandatum novum”, which means new commandment. In John 13:34, Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (NIV) We will be giving you a list of practical ways to live out this new commandment in the days to come.
Good Friday, April 10th
On Good Friday, we will have an online worship service to remember the seven last words of Jesus. It will feature Gospel readings of Jesus’ words from the cross and music from our different campuses and worship services. The video will be released at 5pm, so that you can choose the time in the evening you would like to
participate. Like the videos on Sunday’s, it will be available through Facebook, YouTube, and Web.
Easter Sunday, April 12th, 10:30am
Updated 04/04/20: DRIVE-IN WORSHIP CANCELLED: Along with many of you who were watching Governor Beshear’s daily briefing tonight, you heard the news that Jefferson County is asking churches to not hold drive-in worship services. From the beginning of planning this event, we said we would only hold this service if it was deemed safe at the time by government and health officials. Therefore, we will be cancelling the drive-in part of Sunday’s service and will only be having services online as we have been. We will be communicating more plans tomorrow, but wanted you to know this decision ASAP.
It is amazing how this time of isolation and social distancing has reminded us how connected we are. I pray you take these opportunities to lean into community, lean into your relationship with Christ, and lean into this journey leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.
Rev. Adam Sparks