1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Harwich UMC may be closed for Sunday worship and other gatherings, but because we know the church is a people and not a building I can say with all truthfulness that Harwich UMC is NOT closed in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic. We’re just having to do things a little differently than we’re used to.
During last Sunday’s worship celebration we announced that the bishop intends to reappoint me to Acushnet-Wesley United Methodist Church, effective July 1, 2020. While that appointment will present me with new and different challenges, my family and I have been blessed with my time in your midst at Harwich UMC. You are a community that doesn’t simply declare itself to be one of welcome; you embody a welcoming hospitality that knows no limits.
At the end of this month is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, a time in which we are acutely reminded of the brokenness of this world and, especially, the fallen nature of humanity. Although Christ’s church is the living embodiment of God’s redemptive grace poured into this world, God’s redemptive work is not yet complete, and so much brokenness remains within the church at large.
Another year is put behind us, and a new one is beginning. We might mark the change of years by struggling to stay awake long enough to watch the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, by committing to a set of New Year’s resolutions (most of which we abandon by the end of the month), or simply by taking one calendar off the wall and hanging a new one.
After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. …and he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:17, 19)
Thirty years ago Stephen Covey published his now-famous book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it he poses the question, “What’s the one activity, if you did it consistently and did it well, would yield dramatic results in your life?”
With the days getting warmer (although soon growing shorter!) it’s natural to want to slow down in the summer. And with the influx of the summer population, traffic and the time waiting in lines is guaranteed to slow us down, even as life grows hectic for a season.
Almost 20 years ago, a rather obscure passage from the Old Testament became instantly popular in some Christian circles, providing the basis for a best-selling book, bible studies, and a plethora of decorative merchandise.
If you’ve got an eye for detail, you may notice that the Sunday bulletins refer to the “Second Sunday in Easter” (and “Third Sunday in Easter,” and so on). I’ve got to admit, I always used to see “First Sunday AFTER Easter”… at least until we got to Pentecost Sunday.
As we journey through the rest of Lent, we remain mindful of Christ’s passion and encounter our own complicity in his death and the brokenness of this world. On Maundy Thursday we will strip our worship space of ornamentation and its bright reflection to represent the darkness which Christ was sent to dispel. On Good Friday we will honor Jesus’ offering of himself, even unto death, as both a sin offering and a guilt offering on our collective behalf. And on Easter morning we will celebrate the triumph of the empty tomb, signifying that death is not final… and that because Christ is risen we too may be risen to new and abundant life everlasting.