Palm Sunday Worship and Communion 2020

Palm Sunday Worship and Communion 2020

Covid 19 has made our capacity to gather in groups unfeasible, but the need for liturgical comfort has been acknowledged by the United Methodist Church. Recently the Council of Bishops approved a temporary process for taking Communion at home. This week is Palm Sunday and we will be consecrating the elements during the 9:00 a.m. worship while we livestream. For all that would like to join us, please tune in! For those who wish to take communion with us as a community, whether watching the livestream or not, here is the process for partaking with us as a community.

You will need some bread and grape juice; just a small cup and a roll, a pita or even a water cracker will work just fine. I will be sharing the words of Institution at 9:30, so if you are not on the livestream, you can say a prayer of gratitude and grace, take the bread and remember the words we share when the bread is broken “This is my body, given for you. So often as you partake, do so in remembrance of me.”

Then take the cup, and then proclaim “This is my blood, shed for you and for the sins of many. So often as you drink, do so in remembrance of me.” Once we have finished, the opportunity to once again give thanks is before you and perhaps you might close with a verse of your favorite hymn (Amazing Grace perhaps!?)

We will try our best to bring worship to you via the livestream and the website for Holy Week, but should the virus increase in Southern Utah, we will minimize contact and make sure all are protected from exposure.

Current schedule live steam:
Sunday, April 5th, 9:00 a.m. Worship with communion.
Friday, April 10th, 7:00 p.m. Good Friday with Rev. Joe Doherty of New Promise
Easter April 12th, 9:00 a.m. Worship

We will be under the Government mandated 10 people gatherings at all events, but if the worst case, I will present only some prayer, a homily and maybe Rev. Michael’s guitar (unless I can get Anne to sing!). Should our area take a dramatic turn for the worse, the livestream will be suspended, and I will post a prerecorded video from home.

The Staff and I are taking into account every circumstance and possibility during this pandemic. We are diligently sanitizing, social distancing and will seek the welfare of every person involved as a priority. Continue to pray for us, to join us and I thank you for your continued support by your prayers, presence and offerings. Our community is alive, the Kingdom is coming and each one of us is light of God’s grace in this struggling world! Keep Calm and keep the faith!

We are Jesus’ people, and I know we will be together again, sharing the songs, the laughter, the hugs and handshakes of a people born of the greatest love of all.

In His love,
Rev. Michael

Giving Your Heart a Reset

Giving Your Heart a Reset

“Cast your anxieties upon the Lord, for he cares for you.” I Peter 5:7

Saints of SHUMC,

How is your extended Sabbath going? I do hope all of you are social distancing and washing those hands! But if you are like me, you might be discovering that Sabbathing is actually hard! This has been a time of reflection upon how much of our time is monopolized by culture and circumstance, yet armed with such an awareness, I hope we are making time to not only “recreate” but to do it with quiet and peace as our daily bread. A devotional time, a quick song of praise in the head, or a moment of simply listening to the sounds of creation, gives the heart a time to reset.

It has been a trying time, this Covid-19, challenging the treadmill of familiarity that our human nature is so easily comforted by. The church has been especially pushed toward innovation. We are about relationships, but what to do when the power of touch is removed? Will it be enough to sit and observe when even the most introverted among us feels separated and isolated in such times? Cary Neiwhof, a wonderful pastor in Canada, says that the future of the church is connected to its online ministry, inviting others to meet and seek the touch of grace and relationship with Christ and the people of His Church.

We at SHUMC are working diligently with the tools of the internet with the intention of it being an important part of how we reach out in Christ’s name. But the touch of grace, the sensory connection of relationship expects that we will use all of who we are to bring life to others. The Lord created us as a people of spirit AND of body, so I am looking for ways to stay connected during this time.

If you are immune compromised or concerned about infection, please do not join us. Do not risk your health; the Eucharist will be offered at a time the virus has been overcome. Please be safe. And if the risk increases, we will not attempt these options. I am posting some devotions and encouragement on Facebook and the services are available on You Tube.

And next Saturday evening, April 4th at 7 pm, the Chasing Eden portion of the Praise Band is going to offer a mini concert of encouragement for you on You Tube. We will do some of praise music, some of Luke’s music and a few of the songs we worked up for special music during Communion. We might even take a few “requests” from you!!

We are working to figure out the tech, but it should be a wonderful time! Neighbor to Neighbor is available to assist anyone who needs some grocery or pharmacy pick up help. Karen Cole and Bob Moffit are ready to assist you if you need something from the store, so call the office and we will get connected!

Be strong, take heart and let’s pray for one another during these days of transformation. I am sending out a “virtual” hug to each of you and may this Sabbath time be one filled with new encounters with the Lord and life! Our situation is very fluid at this time, so keep up with us on the Website, You Tube and via emails.

Peace and hope in the one who lives,

Rev. Michael

Learning is Foundational for Believers

Learning is Foundational for Believers

Ronald Reagan tells a great story of a youngster who reached the age for kindergarten. His mother began to prepare him for the school experience, buying him new clothes, telling him about all the projects he would do, the other children he would meet and managed to get the young man excited about this new opportunity. He eagerly went off to his first day, and later returned with some very exciting reports of how wonderful the school experience was. The next morning his mom wandered in and said “Honey, time to get up!”. With ruffled hair and through bleary eyes he sat up and proclaimed, “why?”. You have to go to school!” she replied. He rubbed his eyes and said “what, again?!”

Jesus placed a great premium on the adventure of learning. In fact, as we look at the scriptures, even those who didn’t particularly care for him would grudgingly call him Rabbi, or teacher. There is one very important trait shared by true disciples; they long, they hunger to learn more about God, more about Jesus and how to follow as a people who are equipped to serve and care as Christ cares. Initially the followers of Jesus were known as the ones who follow the WAY. Learning is foundational for believers; in order to make sense of who we are as a ministry, we must understand matters which are not easily condensed into a bumper sticker of a cute slogan. Faith is not the absence of wisdom or knowledge; it is the application of reason and experience culminating in transcending the limitations often imposed by “what we can know”.  In order to better know God, we need some info, we need some history, we need some scripture… and in order to do God’s will, to hear God’s voice and to uncover our purpose in God’s dreams of tomorrow we have to be able to learn, to discuss, to grow.

With this in mind and with a few reflections of SHUMC’s present, we will be looking some great opportunities for the summer and fall.. Our aim is to offer teaching experiences and opportunities that quicken our spirits, unearth questions and give us a chance to deepen our own personal relationship with God and with God’s community of grace. Pray for us in these days, for the community of faith is never a static or unchanging entity! We look forward to coming face to face with the future, and in all ways continuing on the path which leads us closer to Christ!

See you in worship,

Rev. Michael

Don’t Play the Blame Game – Rev. Michael’s Musings

“The one who blames others has a long way to go on their journey.
The one who blames themselves is half way there. The one who blames no one has arrived.
—Chinese Proverb

One thing about being young and having siblings is the joy of pointing our finger at them when something goes wrong! “Who made this mess?” my mom would ask my brother and me. Both of us would our quickly point our fingers at the other in the hope of passing off the responsibility. It didn’t work to often; usually mom had a pretty good idea of where it came from and who was responsible.

It is interesting that this tendency to point the finger is often not only meant to avoid accountability but also to distract. And when the finger is pointed in another direction too often, we might get the idea that all our problems are caused by others. One of my favorite quotes goes something like this; “The only common feature of all your dissatisfying relationships is you.” Jesus is indeed right. Even though our fingers may point at others, the reality is we are the authors of all of our dissatisfactions and unrealized expectations. And too often we allow our unhealthiness to keep us looking in all the wrong places for solutions to our troubles, but in pointing the finger we neglect the actual prescription; examine our hearts.

Lent is upon us, the season of examining our hearts. In our worship we will be g at some of the soul struggles that keep us emotionally immature and, and, accordingly clouds our relationship with God and each other. Let’s own what is truly troubling the waters of our spirt: our broken hearts, our self centered souls, and out thoughtless words and deed. Let us ask Christ to illumine our souls and gracefully smooth our personality’s edges. Join us as we work on the heart so that it may not just know Jesus, but that we may love like Jesus as well. Let our fingers point in only one direction, to the source of healing, mercy, and salvation.

See you in worship!
Rev, Michael