Two major holidays define the Christian faith: Christmas and Easter. Trying to say which one is more important is difficult. Christmas celebrates the greatest gift the world has ever received: the gift of God in the flesh, what the church calls incarnation. But achieving redemption and reconciliation with God required something more. This included Jesus spending three years teaching about the nature of God’s Kingdom, love, mercy and forgiveness, which he demonstrated with compassionate physical and spiritual healing. He also spent a lot of time around the dinner table with people from all walks of life. Even more, when the civil and religious leader, threatened by Jesus’ goodness, truth, and righteousness, sought to eliminate him, Jesus refused to fight back or to run away. At the end of Good Friday, those in power probably went home feeling that the cross had solved their problem.
But all that changed early on Sunday morning when his tomb was found empty and Jesus was alive again. Given all this, I suppose we need to say that Christmas and Easter are equally important parts of God’s plan. I hope you will be able to join us for our two remaining Holy Week services. On Good Friday at 7:00 p.m. we will hold a Tenebrae service on Zoom where volunteers will read through two chapters of John’s Gospel that cover the arrest, trials, flogging, and crucifixion of Jesus. This is a painful part of the story of Easter that we find difficult to see or understand; but it was a necessary part of God’s deliverance from sin and death. Tap here for the link for this Friday evening service at 7p.m.
On Sunday I hope you will tune in to our virtual celebration of Jesus’ resurrection online. This will be a joyous, spirited, exhilarating opportunity to sing Hallelujahs, praising and thanking God for the gracious gift of new life in Christ.
The Session last week heard a lengthy report from our Covid-19 safe reopening team headed by session member Chris Farrow outlining plans for returning to in-person worship. Based on the growing number of vaccinations and the decline of the spread of the virus, we voted unanimously to take steps to re-open for in-person worship on July 11th. This will include all worshippers wearing face masks, sanitizing their hands, keeping six feet apart, and no congregational singing. We will also continue to offer online worship for those who do not feel safe returning at that time. This is our current plan, based on the best information we could gather. If the public health situation changes between now and then, the Session will have to re-evaluate its plan. We are committed to reopening when it is safe to do so and not before.
In the meantime, the Session and I encourage all of you to make plans to get vaccinated if you have not already done so. An important part of Jesus’ and the church’s ministry was and is healing the sick. Let us not only pray for the sick but also to practice responsible and compassionate public health measures that will help end this deadly pandemic. I hope to “see” you all for worship on Good Friday and Easter morning.
Trinity's elders, deacons, and staff are praying for you, your loved ones, and your friends. If you should have a care concern or celebration you'd like to share, please email David or the church office.
Elaine Wolf continues to feel better after her recent kidney transplant surgery. The family still has many restrictions, so that means no visits, food, or flowers, but you may always send a card! The Wolf/Huffman address is 8705 Mansfield Drive, Raleigh, NC 27613-1337. The whole family is grateful for the outpouring of love and support from you all!
Please pray for the ever-resilient Ann Puryear. Ann took a tumble down the steps toward her garage, but fortunately didn't break any bones. Please pray for her comfort as she heals.
Brian Alford’s mother, Faye Alford, had a serious car accident late last week and sustained several injuries, including broken ribs and a head injury. She is improving, but she has a long way to go before she can go home from the hospital. Please pray for the doctors to diagnose all the injuries properly and for a full and swift recovery.
Virginia Raby will have an MRI this Friday, April 2nd. Please pray for a clear path to treat the mass that the doctors found earlier.
We ask that you pray for the family of Sally Harrington, who was Nancy Elder's cousin. Sally was home alone and she called emergency services, realizing she was having a heart attack. Unfortunately they were unable to arrive in time to save her. Sally and her husband had planned to fly to Colorado in April to be present for the birth of their first grandchild. Please lift up Sally's family as they grieve her sudden loss at such an emotional time for all.