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Greetings Lakeland Community and Trinity Church Family,

 

 

I hope that you and your families are well, and I want to wish you all a blessed Holy Week. I said it before, and I will say it again. This Holy Week is not the same as any Holy Week we have experienced. This is new and different for all of us. Maybe this is an opportunity to look at these stories with fresh eyes. I don’t yet know what that might be, but I hope to find out with you. This week we will have several services, and along with those services will be more practices, reflections, and ideas for you to try. You are welcome to try them all, but you certainly don’t have to. This week is about making meaning for yourself, so I invite you to take these ideas and do what feels best for your body and soul. We might be physically separated this week, but we can stay connected through our shared experiences. When we do come together for our services this week, we can be certain that we have been living, praying, and sharing as one.

 

I have been encouraged and very proud of you all adapting to this new reality that we live in, and I want to encourage you to keep up this strength. This has not been easy, but I thank you all for attending our virtual services and helping us improve every time. Like I said on Sunday, we will all face our share of ups and downs, but we can be reminded of the seed of hope in us that will always be alive. I invite you to read the material attached to this letter, and think about what will be most meaningful for you this week. Take your time with it, we are not in a rush right now. Reflect and pray with me this week as we find the sacred moments in our lives that keep us connected to God and one another.

 

Grace and Peace,

 

 

Pastor Ian Campbell

 

Holy Week 2020

 

 

The schedule for this week is presented in the following sections. Each day has instructions and details on any possible services that you can attend. Every service this week will be virtual. As I said this Sunday, I want you to think critically about how you are coming to worship when we join together. Are you able to close out distractions and only focus on the moment at hand? I know it can be challenging, but I hope that some of this material can help you with that. It could mean making a certain chair or spot in your home your worship space, or it could mean setting certain objects out to help a space feel more worshipful. Be creative with it. Do what is most meaningful for you.

If you are following the instructions provided, make sure to read them all the way through before you begin anything. If you are not sure what to do based on the instructions, be creative and focus on doing something that will be meaningful for you in these moments.

 

For all the virtual services throughout the week (except 1 on Good Friday), there are 2 ways to attend: 1 - For audio only, call in at (863) 250-1070

2 - For a video option, visit this url on your computer:

https://www.uberconference.com/iancampbellumc

 

 

 

 

4/8 - Wednesday “Lectio Divina” Service - 6:00 PM

Let’s join together for another Wednesday service as we read, reflect, and pray with another passage of Scripture. This week will be reading from the Book of Philippians (2:5-11).

Service will begin at 6:00 PM, and you can start calling to join at 5:50 PM.

For this service it will be helpful to have a Bible, a pen/pencil, and something to write on.

 

 

 

 

4/9 - Maundy Thursday - 7:00 PM

This Thursday, as we remember the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples, we will often gather together to share in communion. This year, because of physical distancing, I would encourage you all to form your own sacred moments in your homes before we come together for a service in the evening. I am inviting everyone to participate in several practices in your home.

1 - Hand/Foot Washing - Read John 13:1-17

Before the meal they shared together, Jesus took the time to wash all of the disciples'

feet, including the one man who was going to betray him and hand him over to suffering and death. This Maundy Thursday, I invite you - with those in your home - to wash each other’s hands. You may use a bowl of water, sink, or tub to gently wash and then dry the hands of those you are with. If you are by yourself, make the hand washing before eating/preparing dinner a prayerful moment.

Reflect on what it means to wash another’s hands/feet, and what it means to have that done for you. What was Jesus showing in this moment of humility?

 

2 - The Last Supper - Read Matthew 26:17-30

We may not be coming together for communion this Thursday, but we can all participate

in a sacred meal in our homes at the same time as one community. As you set the table and prepare for your final meal of the day, I invite you to set the table with Christ’s table in mind. Light a candle (or set a candle without lighting it), set out some bread, and have a cup placed in the center. Before you eat, read this passage from Matthew 26 as the beginning of your meal. At some point during your meal, break the bread and share the cup. Remember this meal as a special one. Reflect and share what you are thankful for during this time.

3 - Virtual Service “at the Garden” - (by phone or computer)

Join us for a service of Scripture, reflection, and prayer Thursday evening after your time of hand-washing and the last supper. We will be focusing our time on Jesus’ prayer in the garden at Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46).

 

 

4/10 - Good Friday - 7:00 PM (Livestream only)

As we remember the suffering and crucifixion of Jesus Christ on this day, I invite you to reflect on this story safely at your homes. We will not have our own Good Friday service this week, but we have two suggestions for you on this day:

1 - First UMC in Lakeland will be offering a Livestream Tenebrae service at, which several of the UM pastors in the area have worked together to offer for the community.

You can attend this service by following this link and selecting the Good Friday service: https://livestream.com/fumclakeland

We will have this service available on our website this Friday as well.

If you would prefer or are unable to attend the Livestream service, at any point in the day, you can create your own stations-of-the-cross experience. This can be done by setting different stations throughout your home, so you have to move from one to the next, or you can have them all in one place. You could even consider using the stations as pauses in an afternoon walk around your neighborhood. Feel free to get as creative as you would like, and remember that this time of creating, reading, and reflecting is all part of our prayer on this day. This is typically a service of darkness, so pay attention to the light in your home. Can you use candle light to make this time more personal and somber?

These stations of the cross will focus on the story in John 18:1-19:42. Here is how you can separate the reading into separate stations.

1 - John 18:1-11                                              5 - John 19:1-11

2 - John 18:12-18                                            6 - John 19:16-24

3 - John 18:19-27                                            7 - Matthew 27:45-46

4 - John 18:33-40                                            8 - John 19:28-30

 

It might help to think about how you make your worship space more meaningful for this evening. Do you have any black or dark fabric/cloth that you can set at your table? Do you have any physical items that can be symbols as your reading? Items like nails, a cross, a crown or thorn, etc. can be strong symbols for this evening.

Take your time as you read, reflect, and pray through these passages and this story. We are not to Easter Sunday yet; we are with Christ on the cross.

After you finish reading the last passage (John 19:28-30), spend a few minutes in silence and in darkness.

 

4/11 - Holy Saturday

This is not a day that is normally recognized by a service or practice too often in The United Methodist Church, but I want to offer you a suggestion for this day.

Read John 19:38-42. Use this day to remember the moment that Jesus was laid in the tomb.

Think about where the disciples were, how they were feeling, and what they were thinking. This is a somber and humbling day. How are we feeling on this holy day?

I invite you to spend time in silence today, and you may want to use this silence as a time of prayer. If you are not sure what to pray, you can use the words from Psalm 31:1-4, 15-16.

 

 

 

4/12 - Easter Sunday - 10:30 AM

We can still celebrate the Resurrection from our homes!

While we are still searching for meaning in the ways that we are living right now, I hope that you are able to find meaning in this special day. There will be a time when we can celebrate Easter to the fullest, but, for now, I pray that this morning can still show you hope is always alive. It is most certainly resurrected today.

We will have our 10:30 service as scheduled this morning. It is important that we stay connected on this holy day, and, if you have the chance, this might be a good day to reach out to someone else close to you. Give a call to a friend or family member, remind them this is still a holy and special day.

As you prepare for worship this morning, I invite you to let the light into your home and into your heart. Change out the black cloths of Good Friday and Holy Saturday with white cloths of the resurrection. Get some flowers for your home, or go outside to see nature’s signs of new life. Open your curtains and windows to let the light shine in.

If you are used to worshipping at sunrise on Easter, wake up early to spend some time with God this morning. The morning that the stone was rolled away was a quiet one. The empty tomb is our symbol for today, and there is nothing loud about it. Spend some time reflecting and praying on the quiet, humble beauty of this symbol for us today. And I hope you can join us at 10:30 for worship.