Since last Sunday I have been able to create the “Spirit West United Church, Edmonton” YouTube channel. Click on the link and it should take you to our channel. On that channel you will find the Worship Videos and other videos that I have made. (See the note below called “FOR KIDS.”) I will still post a notice on our Facebook page when a new video is available.
Throughout this eMessage, links to the internet will be blue type and underlined. You may have to Ctrl+click to activate them.
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER 2020
There will be Worship Videos available on our YouTube channel for Palm Sunday (This Sunday), Good Friday, April 10 and Easter, April 12. I will not have a video for Maundy Thursday. The links for the Good Friday and Easter Videos will be in next week’s Thursday message.
SO, WORSHIP DURING HOLY WEEK IN THE SANCTUARY YOU CALL HOME …
- Option 1 - Set aside time on Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. Follow the Spirit West Services on YouTube.
- Option 2 - Set aside time on Sunday, Good Friday and Easter. Light a candle, read the readings for each day, read and discuss my reflections in the Thursday Message, and pray.
- Option 3- “Attend’ one of the live-streaming services from another United Church through the link at SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING… below.
- Also remember that if you are not on PAR(Pre-Authorized Remittance), you can still contribute to Spirit West during this time. You can mail in cheques to the church office or you can donate online, see ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE… below.
THIS SUNDAY – PALM SUNDAY and the Third in Isolation - “Hosanna!”
The readings for Sunday are Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29, and Matthew 21: 1-11.
Palm Sunday has usually described as the celebration of Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. The story is recorded in all four Gospels. This year we are reading Matthew’s version. All of the Gospels describe Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a borrowed donkey. They describe Jesus surrounded by crowds who throw cloaks and branches on the ground in front of him. And three of the Gospels (not Luke) describe the crowds as shouting “Hosanna.” Now I think that most of us have come to think of “Hosanna” as a kind of Biblical “Hurray.” The crowds are cheering for Jesus. The crowds call out “Hosanna to the Son of David,” “Hosanna in the highest heaven.” However, if we look at the Hebrew, there is a somewhat different meaning. “Hosanna” in its original Hebrew form אנָּ֑ הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה, hoshia na is found in Psalm 118: 25. Look it up. You probably did not find it, you probably found something like “Save us we beseech you, O Lord” nrsv or “Save us, Lord, save us” good news. In our English translations of the Psalms, we have translated the Hebrew word as “Save us.” In Aramaic, the common language of Jesus’ time the similar word is אושענא ʾōshaʿnā and means "save,” “rescue,” or “saviour." Are the people shouting at Jesus just to praise him, or do they want something from him. Are there “hosannas” shouts of praise or cries for help. We know that Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, as we hear again the stories of Jesus that lead to the cross and resurrection. What were the people around Jesus expecting when he came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, and did they get what they wanted. It does not take long for the crowds cries to turn from “Hosanna” to “Crucify him!” In this unique time in our world, what do we expect from Jesus as he come to us. Are we shouting “help us” and “save us” as we face a global pandemic, while at the same time hoarding hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Jesus never promised us that the journey of life would be easy. But he did promise to be our companion on the journey. In this time of social isolation, we must remember that we are called to be the Church, to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
With Sunday, being Palm Sunday, we really need palms to wave. But you probably don’t have a palm tree at home. On our YouTube channel you will find a video that shows you how to Create a Palm Branch out of paper, so that you can wave your palm branch on Sunday.
SUNDAY SERVICES LIVE-STREAMING ACROSS CANADA
There are a number of United Churches (and some Presbyterian) across Canada who are able to live-stream their Sunday services. At least three Edmonton churches are doing this: Millwoods, Robertson-Wesley and Southminster-Steinhauer. Check out this interactive map for livestreaming services across Canada: https://arcg.is/1TaKqS (and remember to take into account time zones for churches outside of Alberta)
OUTREACH – Bissell Bag Lunches - you can still help by sponsoring a lunch
With the help of local churches, including Spirit West, the Bissell Centre is still providing bag lunches to those in need. Our turn to help is April 19th. However, because of Covid-19, the way these lunches are provided and served has changed. The menu is more restrictive, and all the items must be store bought and pre-packaged. Obviously we can’t have a group of people in the church packing lunches, and we don’t need ten volunteers to help serve, as we have in the past.
To keep the number of people involved to the minimum, Lori, Bill and Adam will purchase the items and pack the 100 bag lunches that Spirit West is to provide, and deliver them to the Bissell drop off site on Sunday. Based on the prescribed menu, each bag lunch will cost around $3.00. So here’s how you can help.
We are suggesting a Bissell Lunch Sponsorship of 3 lunches for $10, or 6 lunches for $20. (Remember we need 100 lunches) You can send a cheque payable to Spirit West United Church with Bissell Lunch or Outreach in the memo line. If you include your envelope or PAR number, this will be credited to your year-end tax receipt. The reason for adding or Outreach is so that if we receive money in excess of what we need for the 100 lunches, the remainder can be set aside for future Bissell Lunches or used for other Outreach projects of Spirit West.
PASTORAL CARE DURING A PANDEMIC
A team has been put together to begin a phone ministry. We will be reaching out by phone to members of Spirit West to remind ourselves that we are a community of faith, even if at the moment we have to practice social distancing, and in some cases self-isolation. The team will initially target those whom we believe are most likely to be isolated. We may not always get it right. If you get a call, and think you really didn’t need it, thank the caller anyway. If you don’t hear from anyone in the next week or so, and really would like a call, let me know. We are playing this by ear in an “interesting” time.
If you are self-isolating for whatever reason (you are not feeling well, you are in a susceptible population, or you are just not taking chances) and you cannot get out to do shopping, let us know. There are people in the congregation who will do your shopping and deliver it to your home. Mention this to the caller from the phone ministry, or call or send an email to the church to let us know.
If you would like to volunteer as a “shopper” let me know by phone or email.
David S. has started a Casserole Ministry as part of Pastoral Care. Volunteers from Pastoral Care at Spirit West will deliver a casserole to someone in isolation, recovering from illness, or grieving the loss of family members.
We would need a supply of three or four casseroles made by members of Spirit West in tin foil pans and frozen in the church freezer available for delivery. The casseroles should be dated and labelled with all ingredients and the instructions for reheating. The supply of casseroles can be replenished as needed. If you are interested in providing a casserole please call David S. so he can keep an accurate inventory of casseroles (not too many, not too few).
Spirit West Prayer Chain
Prayer is important. We know that people still face challenges and difficulties not related to Covid-19, and we cannot forget them. Our Prayer Chain will continue to be active. If you have a prayer request, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. These requests will be shared regularly with the prayer chain.
ANOTHER WAY TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO SPIRIT WEST DURING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC
You are stuck home, Spirit West is not holding services, you are not on PAR, but you want to make a financial contribution to the work of Spirit West, because the church has bills to pay even when we are not gathering on Sunday. Check out the online donation option on our website spiritwest.org and click on the Donate tab in the navigation bar.
SPIRIT WEST ONLINE!
Facebook: Spirit West United Church
YouTube: Spirt West United Church, Edmonton
At the present time, the Spirit West Church office remains open.
- Norma => Noon to 5:00 pm, Monday to Thursday
- Larry => 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Tuesday to Friday
(Rev.) Larry K. Wright, CD, BA, MDiv
Spirit West United Church