Dear First Presbyterian Church family:

I wanted to share a quick update with a few more details about our Holy Week services. I also want to share another prayer from our Palm Sunday procession. I will send one of these each day Holy Week.

Holy Week Service Details:

-Maundy Thursday, 4/9: 7pm streamed live on the internet. If you don’t have internet access, you can call in to listen at (253)215-8782 or (301)715-8592 and then type in Meeting ID#: 810 056 549. For the Maundy Thursday service, everyone is invited to sit down with a meal or some food in front of them. Pastor Damen will be reflecting on sacred meals as part of this service, so gather around your kitchen or dining room tables with some food for this service.

-Good Friday, 4/10: 12pm streamed live on the internet. If you don’t have internet access, you can call in to listen at (253)215-8782 or (301)715-8592 and then type in Meeting ID#: 810 056 549. For the Good Friday service, if you have 9 candles available, set them up. During the service, we will read a different part of the Passion narrative and then extinguish a candle. If you have candles, you can follow along at home.

-Easter Prayer Vigil: From sunset Good Friday to Easter Morning, we will send out prayer resources by email on Friday and invite the whole congregation to take some time during the weekend to pray.

-Easter Sunday, 4/ 12: 10:25am streamed live on the internet and also on KICS 1550 AM radio. We will have live organ music and a live brass ensemble with all your favorite Easter Hymns! We will also share pre-recorded anthems sung by our beloved church choir in previous years.

Here is the second prayer we shared during our Palm Sunday procession from the parking lot of Mary Lanning Hospital, written by Pastor Damen for healthcare workers:

Context matters. Moments before his entry to Jerusalem, Jesus healed two people who were blind. Moments after his entry he’ll toss over tables in the temple and heal some more blind people plus a few who were lame. Jesus entry to Jerusalem, and the shouts of “Hosanna” is sandwiched between stories of his caring for others. It’s what he did. He cared for the vulnerable. He sought out the overlooked. He responded to those in need.

We find ourselves living, O God, with a heightened awareness of the vulnerability of our own bodies. We cannot escape considering our own frailty and the fragility of our own lives here on earth. The words of the papers, televisions, radio, and internet tubes are filled with stories of infection, distress, and death. It is on our minds. In an age of pandemic and stay-at-home orders, how could it not be? No doubt it was on Jesus’ mind as well. He knew the path he travelled. He understood just how at risk he was and how vulnerable his own body would be in the week ahead. Moments before he healed those people he reminded his disciples that he’d soon be mocked, tortured, and put to death. And yet, he still did what he always did. He still offered aid to those in need.

As we gather outside of this medical building we offer a prayer all of those involved in the care of others. We pray for those who continue to do what they always do even though it makes them vulnerable. We pray for doctors, for nurses, for cleaning staffs and security teams. We pray for administrators and all those tasked with keeping healthcare facilities open and in service to those in need. We pray that they might be supported and their families might find their way through whatever anxiety and worry comes their way. And beyond this facility we pray for all institutions of healthcare in our communities. We pray for elder care facilities, in-home health care workers, and those facilities and individuals who care for those with special needs. We pray for all those who care for others.

We recognize, O God, that our bodies, our very selves, are precious and they are vulnerable. Just as Jesus’ body was vulnerable. We offer our thanks for those who dedicate their lives to taking care of the bodies of others. May they have the grace, courage, and equipment they need to continue to do what they always do. May we all find ways to support them as they care for others. Amen.

Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Greg