Easter Letter 2020

Happy Easter First Gilbert UMC!

The Sunday of all Sundays is upon us and I know is that this Sunday will be a blessing to you. In that context, it will be just as wonderful as Easter Sundays in the past. However, we also know that it will be unlike any other Easter we have had in recent history—no flowers around the altar, no choir procession proclaiming the risen Christ, no pancakes and sausage from the Scouts. It seems like all our traditions have been tossed out the window due to a deadly microscopic particle call Corona Virus. This tiny little sphere of genetic material has turned our world upside down and changed forever the way we go about our business.

The major shifts I’ve noticed seem to have taken place due to the highly contagious nature of the virus. I don’t recall in my lifetime ever having to practice social distancing or isolation. People typically don’t miss work if they are not sick because it is flu season—even when we are told it is a new strain of influenza. People don’t usually buy the entire stock of toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, bleach, flour, and soup from every store in the metropolitan area. I heard last week that some of the smaller, more isolated communities in our state were checking addresses on driver’s licenses to stop out-of-towners from depleting the resources of small town retailers. It is truly amazing what fear of the unknown will cause people to think and do. 

Jesus taught the crowds (that’s us) to consider a better way; a Kingdom way. God’s economy is different from the world’s economy. In fact, Matthew’s gospel records Jesus saying these words:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor was spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”

These are Jesus’ words for living a life of contentment. 

It is Easter when God’s love for us is clearly demonstrated in the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Savior. This was done so that we would be made right—our sins forgiven; that we also would be raised to be with Him throughout eternity upon our own death.  This is the good news of Jesus. As we participate in all of our services this week (Maundy Thursday at 7, Good Friday at 7, and Easter Morning at 9:30 links here), allow God to speak directly to you. Let the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
So, we are asking for you to please pray for our church and its leadership in this difficult time. Also, may you be generous as you return a portion of that which you have received from God’s bounty to the church so that the mission and ministries we are engaged in will continue uninterrupted.  If you are interested in online giving just click here. God’s provision is unmatched. We know with certainty that we are in good hands. 

All glory and honor be to God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Pastor Rick

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