Palm Sunday | March 24, 2021
Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that we have awakened too many times of late to the gut-churning news of a mass shooting. On Monday ten people died in Colorado, and last week eight people died in Atlanta, six of them Asian women. In both instances, these innocent people were murdered by one man.
Over the course of the last year, crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have risen sharply. Women have borne the brunt of these incidents, which range from verbal harassment to assault and now mass murder. There is something seriously wrong.
How should we as people of faith, respond?
The answer, of course, is not to meet hate with hate. In this holy season, we are walking in The Jesus Way. All during Lent we have read story after story about Jesus reaching out in love and compassion to diverse people, all while casting out the demons that plague individuals and communities. We need to heed both of Jesus’ impulses right now: reaching out in love and casting out demons.
We pray that those who mourn the loss of friends and family in this tragedy, as well as those who are just plain scared in this time, will feel the comforting presence of the Good Shepherd.
We commit ourselves, as disciples of Jesus, to working toward exorcizing the demons of racism that haunt our society and that infect people’s minds. We need to meet the public and private prejudices that flow through our culture with a vision for loving our neighbor and with an invitation to deepen mutual understanding and compassionate living.
We all belong to God.
Anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
I John 2:11
I invite you to click here and pray this prayer.
I hope you’ll take the time to watch my devotional for today titled, “Teaching Your Children and Grandchildren Gratitude.” It will take only a few minutes of your time. Please click here to watch.
Our Return to In-Person Worship
I know you’ve heard the news: Easter Sunday Sunrise at 7 am in the large, south parking lot. And then on Mother’s Day, May 9, our return to in-person worship in the Sanctuary. You can find information here.
As you know, worship is a community effort. It is the work of the people. Our staff and musicians have been spending countless hours preparing to offer you excellent worship as we now plan to be serving our congregation both in-person and online. I sincerely believe that whether you come to our building or participate in the comfort of your home, you will feel the Spirit move in your being and among us as we worship.
Please continue your generosity as you do so faithfully and well. Many of the modifications we have made to our building, and are making to offer worship both in-person and online, come with a price tag. We have purchased better air filters for circulating our air throughout our buildings. We have purchased better technology equipment for our online broadcasts. We have created sanitizing stations to help maintain safety around the campus. These are just a few illustrations of the way we are utilizing our resources now as we return to in-person and online worship services. Your generosity has made and will continue to make these things possible. Thank you! If you would like to donate to support MUMC, please click here. Your gifts matter, and make it possible for us to continue to adapt to meet the needs of our church family and community.
It feels good to be moving forward together and I am deeply grateful to each of you for the ways you have continued to support one another and our church leadership and staff communities. You are what makes MUMC so life-giving.
To Uganda on a Mission of Love and Service
I love watching the people of God called MUMC go forth in mission and service, whether it is here in our community around the globe. Read below about an incredible global opportunity that awaits you. Would you like to go to Uganda to learn, love and serve? You are invited to join a team going July 6-17, 2021 to serve and build relationships with our partners in ministry at Kidron Valley Ministries. The mission will be to help with projects at the orphanage, school and medical clinic while building relationships with the people of the village of Naminya. There will be several objectives for our trip so there is something for everyone. Register at OnRealm.org before April 6. Limited Space available.
The Legal Aspects of the Crucifixion
Years ago, I sat mesmerized while Fred DeVore walked us through the Trial of Jesus. There is no telling how many times Fred has repeated this outstanding presentation in so many different settings. I hope you can join us for The Legal Aspects of the Crucifixion on Tuesday, March 30, via Zoom (click here to join). We’ll look at the legal issues surrounding the Roman and Hebrew legal proceedings of Jesus’ crucifixion. Was the trial legal? Did Jesus have legal defenses? Why was he convicted? Was there more than one trial? Could he have appealed the sentence? What crimes did he commit? How do we know if the Gospel accounts are accurate? This presentation will provide you with a new perspective of the last hours of Jesus’ life.
Fred DeVore has been an attorney in Mecklenburg County for nearly 40 years. His firm is DeVore, Acton & Stafford, PA. He has also guided our church in legal matters for decades. You will deeply enrich your Holy Week by participating.
- Palm Sunday Services March 28 Online
- Daily At-Home Prayer Services & Guides – March 29-April 3
- Legal Aspects of the Crucifixion with Attorney, Fred DeVore on Tuesday, March 30, 7pm on Zoom. Click here to join.
- Maundy Thursday Service April 1 at 7pm Online. Pastor Chuck will distribute communion elements on April 1 from 5:00-6:30 pm under the Portico Entrance in the Large Parking Lot.
- Good Friday Service April 2 at 7pm Online
- Easter Sunrise Service April 4 at 7am in the Large Parking Lot. Reservations required at OnRealm.org.
- Easter Sunday Services April 4 Online at 9:30am Contemporary, 11:00am Traditional & 12:30pm Spanish
- More Info: www.MatthewsUMC.org/Events/Lent
We will begin a new worship series on Easter Sunday, April 5, titled Easter Earthquake! How the Resurrection Rocks the World. We hope to do our best to answer the question: What difference does the resurrection make in the way we face the critical issues/crises/concerns of our time as defined by the people of Matthews United Methodist? Come and see how a new world is offered to us through the resurrection. Click here for a snapshot view of our worship series through the Easter season.
Service times change beginning April 11: Contemporary 9:15 am, Traditional 11:00 am & Spanish 12:45 pm. See our Return to In-Person Worship Plan for Mother’s Day at MatthewsUMC.org/Updates. Due to COVID Protocols, reservations are required for in-person worship in the Sanctuary.
This Sunday (Palm Sunday) in Worship
Wendell Berry — novelist, poet, activist, and farmer — warns us, “Those who have forgotten forget that they have forgotten.” As Holy Week draws near (beginning this Sunday), we approach some familiar territory: the waving of palm branches, the washing of feet, the breaking of bread, a friend’s betrayal and the agony of death. So we enter the days ahead to remember things we dare not but might otherwise forget. And we do it by telling the same story over and over again.
This week in our CCH community, Pastor Roldan will be preaching from Mark 14:3-9, with his message titled, Details that Count.
At 9:30 am and 11:00 am we are moving toward Jerusalem as we continue the journey along The Jesus Way. Last Sunday we learned of The Way of Holiness. If you missed it, please watch here. This Sunday will be The Way of the Servant from Isaiah 53:1-12.
And now, as always, during these strange, uncertain, tumultuous, perilous and hopeful days of pandemic remember … God does God’s best work in moments like this.
We are in this … together,
Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Did you know about Tom Williamson and the unique ministry (Ride Again Bicycle Ministry) and calling he has for repairing bicycles and placing them with the underserved? Tom, thank you for responding to that whisper. Spectrum News recently shared about Tom’s ministry…click here to see the story about how he puts love into action.