Note from Tim 2020-04-05

There are many things that I want to communicate with you all every day, but I have been refraining so as not to overwhelm and perhaps diminish the times that I do come to you. So, here are a few things that are important for us at this time…
 
It’s Holy Week and we just considered the significance of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem today and now we turn to his suffering and death this week leading into Good Friday, and finally, Easter. Our community Good Friday service has been canceled but our church family will “gather” for worship online at 7 PM on Friday evening. Mike will provide appropriate music, I will record a more informal meditation from my home, and it will lead into a celebration of the Lord’s Supper together.
 
We will focus on Psalm 88 and see how Jesus’ death in the darkness and the psalms can help us constructively work through our grief and darkness with God. And then what do I mean we will celebrate communion together? Certainly, this is not ideal but even as we normally gather to eat and drink in pews/chairs, it is just a shadow of the reality of Jesus’ past supper observance and the future mind-blowing banquet feast when we see him again. We settle for a shadow again. But for this moment, we can still be spiritually with each other (Col. 2:6) online, and I will lead us through the eating and drinking—to remember and be encouraged in our participation with Christ in his death. And so that means that you should have some bread and juice/wine prepared before the service that evening. Invitations to this 7 PM service will be focused on our church family. And then as the video is posted later for viewing by others, the communion portion will not be included.
 
And then as we will see from Psalm 88, the glory and grace of Easter morning is stunningly brighter and more beautiful against the backdrop of Friday’s darkness. And we look forward to a grand celebration of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter morning. Many of us often extend invitations to neighbors and friends to join us for Easter and we can still do that by texting and emailing the service links. But we want to add a new way for you to share Easter with others…
 
In a world of bad news, we want to get loud with some stunning good news. And so we invite you to create a short video (20 seconds or less) that tells your story of how Jesus changed your life. (Tip: film horizontally so it fits properly on a tv or computer screen). How does the death and resurrection of Jesus change you? How does Jesus provide you with hope, joy, peace, meaning, and purpose? And, if doing a video is not your thing, develop a written response in just a few sentences (include your name if you choose the print format). And then text* or email it in to Laura by this Wednesday at 5pm (see end of email for instructions on texting). All of the videos (and perhaps some of the written testimonies) will be edited/joined together into a collage (thanks to Dan Van Stensel) that we will play at some point during our Easter worship. It would be great for you to post your video/testimony on your Facebook page or other social media. We will also make this collage video available on our website.
 
Our community, friends, and family need light for this darkness more than ever. And you might also consider taking it all a bit further by participating in the #JESUSCHANGEDMYLIFE challenge outlined in the linked article. This article also provides links to ideas about how to do a selfie video and how to tell your story. Tell your story for all to hear! I look forward to this amazing time together.
 
Finally, I want to encourage you all to care for one another with an intensity and in ways we have never done before. We have been seeing how Jesus is our refuge for all of the pressure, challenges, fear, and stress of this season. But he has also instructed us to be instruments of his presence and care for each other as well. Please read through the article below that wonderfully outlines how the church directory is the second-most important book for every Christian. And then as you know, Laura has been working on an updated version of our church directory and she will be mailing those out to you this week.
 
Let’s all pray that God will use all of our testimonies and his Word and worship and prayers and care for one another to put Jesus’ resurrection power on display—all for his glory!
 
Pastor Tim
 
* To receive text updates from RRC, and to be able to send photos or videos via text, text @rrcupdates to 81010. A few notes: You do not need to get the app, just texting works fine. If you reply to the text, it will ask for your name, and then if you are a student, parent, or teacher. Just choose parent. 🙂