Video Worship Information for May 24, 2020
I am surfacing from radio-silence (vacation) this week to remind you: there is NOT a video from us this week, May 24th. We are taking the Sunday off from producing an online service.
Instead, we are inviting you to experience one (or two) of our ECO sister congregations: Village Church, Incline Village; and, First Presbyterian Church Honolulu. The Village Church is our Mission Affiliation Group partner. First Prez Honolulu is a congregation with which I have had a long relationship. Dan Chun, the senior pastor, is a friend and I have been blessed by the ministries I have seen and shared there.
If you would like to explore these congregations, you can find them:
Village Church: https://www.thevillagechurchnv.org
Worship live stream channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYxkLpF6IPmZSf5b_-SJEXA/featured
First Presbyterian Church Honolulu: https://www.fpchawaii.org
Worship live stream: https://fpchawaii.online.church
Just a couple of notes:
1. The session meets on Tuesday, May 26, to talk about where and how we go from here. Please hold our elders in prayer that we would be faithful in discerning God’s leading. I know that we are anxious and looking forward to meeting together in worship; we want to do that in a responsible and thoughtful way. There are a lot of aspects to consider.
2. Let me caution everyone to not get caught up in the media and political fight about the essential nature of the church. Of course the church is essential. Christ is head over it, Christ commanded it, and Christ provides for it through the blessing and power of the Holy Spirit. No human government or agency is needed to validate its existence or functioning.
That said, it also is important to remember the essential nature of the church is not the building or the campus. It is the fellowship and shared testimony of those whom Christ has called together. Of course we want to get back to worship in-person. Of course we are going to get back to worship in-person together at some point. There are opinions all over the map regarding how re-opening in-person worship can and should occur. As we figure it out, we will continue to share in the experience of this video-only time. We will continue to encourage one another via all the means God has made available to us: video conferencing, text, email, phone calls, and — yes, it still works — postal (snail) mail.
Please be intentional about giving each other grace, particularly as we try to navigate these next stages/phases. How we do this — especially how we treat one another and how we communicate with the community around us — is part of our “essential” witness. It’s like the old story of a woman getting pulled over by a police officer: she had been shouting and cursing and wildly gesticulating at other drivers. When the officer approached her window, she demanded to know why she had been pulled over. He responded, “I saw the fish sticker on your back bumper and figured the car must have been stolen.” It matters how we treat one another in difficult times.
Finally, this is Memorial Day Weekend. Below my signature, I have included a prayer written by Mark Roberts, who is a Presbyterian minister serving at the De Pree Center at Fuller Theological Seminary. I encourage you to take a few moments to read it, reflect on it, and pray it. We are blessed to live in this nation.
Your brother in Christ,
Gracious God, on this Memorial Day in the United States, we take time to remember those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom. We thank you for their commitment and sacrifice. We pray for families who remember with sad longing their lost loved ones, even as they honor their bravery and devotion.
Lord, we are reminded today that this world is not exactly what you intended it to be. Sin has touched everything, including our work. Work is now filled with hardship. Life is now tainted by death. Our hearts ache before you today.
We also yearn for the future, when you restore all things through Christ. We are eager to experience work as you meant it to be. We are glad for the promise of life without death. And, yes, we look forward to being reunited in your family with those who have died, including those who have given their lives for our country.
All praise, glory, and honor be to you, O God. Amen.