Previews of coming attractions
Week of May 4-10
When I have the opportunity to go to a movie, I like to arrive early enough to catch the “previews of coming attractions.” I like to know what is in the “works” and what I can expect in future days. Life doesn’t always afford us this chance when it comes to storms and hurricanes and circumstances and challenges. With this in mind I offer you a brief glimpse of some “coming attractions” at John Wesley.
May 9— Mother’s Day. In worship, we will celebrate the place Mothers hold in their children’s hearts. Our prayers will include a prayer for moms, those who have been a blessing to their children, for those who have not been able to be a blessing to their children, and for women in the church who, though having no children of their own, have loved all God’s children with a Mother’s love. I do not preach Mother’s Day sermons. Through the years I have learned to mention moms, but I do not preach a Mother’s Day sermon. It is a day of some discomfort and struggle for those who did not have a great home situation and for those who have not been able to have children. On this day, I will be preaching about “looking upward rather than down” when life is hard. The sermon comes from Psalm 29 and speaks about “ascribing’ to the Lord. Hint: “Ascribe” means surrender. It is a day that will have some tears and lots of joy as I remember my own mother who has been in heaven since 2010.
May 23—Pentecost. Red will be the liturgical color of the day as we remember the “fire” of the Holy Spirit giving birth to the Church. In those early days thousands were being saved and the church grew quickly. The name of the Lord was being praised and the church was early in its life. The mission today remains the same. We are “fueled” by the Holy Spirit to speak about what we know to be true about God. On this day, I will preach from Romans about how “all things work together for those who love the Lord.” We have the high and holy privilege of bearing the “image” of the Spirit. We continue to watch Covid-19 protocols. It is my plan now to offer Holy Communion on Pentecost at all services. Our Church leadership continues to advise that we exercise caution and so we will offer Communion with the clergy being masked and wearing Nitrile gloves. We will use bread and individual plastic cups, and there will be receptacles for disposing of the cups.
May 30 —Memorial Day. As a part of worship today we will pause and remember all who have given their lives in service to this nation. Their memory is sacred. We will include the singing of “America” and “God Bless America” as a part of our service. The Sermon is about “Singing for Joy” from Zechariah 2:10-13.
May 23 and 30 — May 23 will be our final livestream from the LMR. Equipment must be moved back to the Sanctuary and tested prior to our date for getting back in. On May 30, the configuring of the LMR will be different. The Altar will be moved beneath the windows and the seating will face that long wall with the windows. The May 30 service will be recorded and put up on the John Wesley YouTube Channel for viewing later in the day. We apologize for any inconvenience this will cause viewers. The process is necessary as we prepare to return to the Sanctuary. It is the livestream equipment that must be moved to the Sanctuary.
Other coming attractions include our target date for getting back into the Sanctuary. All renovations are scheduled to be complete by the end of May.
Sanctuary worship returns June 6, 2021, with the focus at 11:00 a.m. on our High School graduates and recognizing their achievements and plans for the future. We will also honor college graduates by having their graduating school listed as well as their degree. Please let the office know which service you plan to attend. We will list College Graduates according to the service you plan to attend. College graduates are welcome to wear their cap and gown for these services. We will read the names and honor their achievement. The College graduates will not enter in procession, but may sit throughout the Sanctuary or LMR.
Stewardship Emphasis is something all of us must consider regularly. My hope is to see Sunday School attendance growing. We are greeting more new faces as Covid–19 numbers reduce and people are vaccinated. We thank people for being cautious. We were not made to be the church minus blessed fellowship that is “like to that above.” Let our prayers be directed to seeking God’s help with returning to degrees of normalcy slowly and surely. The pace at which we do this will not be satisfying to all points of view. Most people feel one of two ways. Our leadership is committed to doing what is believed to be in the best interests of all who attend and worship at John Wesley. Getting the church back to some degree of normalcy will take effort, choices, decisions, and faith.
The Lord does his work all the time and nothing stops it. God invites us to be participants in the church’s work. Our job is not to think “if” but “how” we get the Lord’s work accomplished. The Lord knows where we are and where we are going. God knows the future that we cannot yet see. God offers his hand to us and invites us through trust and faith to take his hand and walk with him to what he has in store for John Wesley. The one thing we know is that God’s plan for John Wesley Church is to be “built up and strengthened” and to lift up God’s voice speaking to and in Charleston.