April 5, 2020
TRADITIONS AND CHANGE
We begin the day the way we always do, with a rendition of that old favorite, “The Palms”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cu90sp8Pfts sung by First UMC of Coral Springs FL.
But everything else this year is different. There are no real palms. You might have colored the palm I sent out, or picked a branch from your yard to be your palm this year but we do not have the familiar, real, branch. We are not together. You might have joined those of us who watch the Old South Palm Sunday service – we are far apart, yet there’s a sense of solidarity when we see each other’s names in the chat feature. We’re using computers and smart phones to connect. We are not seated in the usual pew, chatting with our friends all around us. We’re not joyous, not excited. We live, these days, in fear.
On that first Palm Sunday, that triumphal entry into Jerusalem, we’ve long emphasized the joy. This year, though, we’re going to get up close with the fear that ran right along with the joy. Jesus came to turn the world upside down. No matter what they hoped would happen, no matter what they expected to happen, no matter what the plans were, I don’t think there was a person in that parade who didn’t know that it could all fall apart. Fear was right there with them, as it is for us.
I can imagine a choir singing “The Palms”. I can picture us singing “All Glory, Laud & Honor”, but under it all I hear the words of “Ride On, Ride On In Majesty”:
Ride on! ride on in majesty!
The angel armies in the sky
look down with sad and wondering eyes
to see the approaching sacrifice.
Ride on! ride on in majesty!
Your last and fiercest foe defy;
bow your meek head to mortal pain;
then take, O God, your power, and reign.“Ride On! Ride On in Majesty!” (vv. 3–4) by Henry Hart Milman, alt; #191, Chalice Hymnal
Our world tries to tell us that everything is good, that if things aren’t going well for us, it’s our fault. A prominent fake Christian leader tells us that the pandemic is our fault for not loving God enough, thereby proving that he doesn’t know God at all. For God is with us at exactly these times. Our friends will not get sick, we will not be struck down because we are bad, but because we live in a natural world. The good news is that, whatever happens, God will be with us. God loves us, and that’s all we need to know.
A private graveside committal will be held this week for Donald Hall. It is private because, in these times, we are not allowed to gather at the grave in numbers. The Board of Health has been closing down services if a crowd grows. We will hold our own service for Donald when we can get together again, when there will be no limitation on the number of us who can attend.
Many thanks to those of you who have sent your pledge into the church. Our expenses continue, so we really appreciate your efforts to help us pay our bills. Checks may be mailed to the church at 5 Gibbs Avenue, Wareham MA 02571.
There will be a meeting of the Church Council, via Zoom, on Wednesday evening at 7pm.
Ron and Mary Westgate ask that we pray for Michael Layman, who has the COVID-19 virus. He is the brother of their daughter-in-law.
Steve Chanona’s daughter Annie, who is in Florida, has the COVID-19 virus. Keep her and Steve in your prayers.
If you have a prayer concern feel free to send it in to be included in this daily email.