Our online Sunday School will continue each Sunday at 11:30. We are continuing our study of Adam Hamilton’s “When Christians Get It Wrong”. This week we will be looking at Chapter 3 – When Speaking of Other Religions
You can join in the class and discussion by clicking this link:
Or you can call in at (301) 715 8592.
Holy Week Reading Services – New Philadelphia Moravian Church
April 6-10, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Our Holy Week Reading Services will be live-streamed each night at 7:00. If you don’t have a copy of the Readings for Holy Week, you can access a PDF version by using this link: https://www.moravian.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/RFHW-for-Distribution-2020-final.pdf
You may find the Holy Week Reading schedule here: www.tinyurl.com/2020HolyWeek
Friday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.
Good Friday Tenebrae Service
The Tenebrae Service is a service that begins in light and ends in darkness. It is symbolic of Jesus Christ, the light of the world, experiencing the darkness of death. The sanctuary goes from light to dark as candles are extinguished to represent the gathering darkness of the sin that
hangs over the world as the earthly life of the Savior comes to an end on the cross. Even though we won’t all be in the sanctuary, you can participate in this experience from home. Find 7 candles that you can light as the service begins and then simply follow along with the service, extinguishing your candles at home as we do in the sanctuary. As the candles go out, one by one, we sense the growing loneliness of Jesus as his friends and followers abandon him. His anguish is so great that he feels even God has left him. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Darkness falls as Jesus breathes his last, abandoned to the cross, surrounded by criminals.
Our service ends in darkness and silence. Yet even then, the darkness is not complete. We have hope that the light will return. “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned, but those who do not believe are condemned already because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (John 3:17-21)
This Sunday is Palm Sunday. We enter into Holy Week with Jesus as he entered into Jerusalem, welcomed by the crowds crying out “Hosanna! Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord!” and waving palm branches in the air to signal his arrival as the one who will come and save them.
Palm Sunday is a day of great rejoicing and celebration in the Moravian Church. We pray our beloved liturgy and we sing the Hosanna anthem. And even though we will be worshipping as an online-only congregation again this week, we will still be doing all of those things. The only thing that will be missing is the palm branches waving in the air. But you can still do that at home.
You can go out to your trees and cut down a leafy branch to wave during the service, or you can create your own palm branch. Marla Sparks shared this palm branch that was painted on beautiful stone. Follow this example or be creative and come up with your own palm branches to have for our service on Sunday. And share a picture of what you come up with during our live-stream of the service!
“See” you on Sunday!
Dear New Philadelphia Family,
Are you getting used to it yet? We are into our third (or is it our fourth? Time has really become malleable) week of social distancing, and into our second week of having to stay at home, and this Sunday will be our fourth of having our worship service only online. So are you getting used to it yet?
I know that I am not. I am not used to working from an almost empty office, to preaching to an empty sanctuary, to not being able to see and interact with the people that I love, to be with you all. And I hope that I never do get used to it. Because then it becomes “normal” and there is nothing normal about any of this. So it is ok to feel frustrated and anxious and uncertain and alone. For that is what motivates us to do what needs to be done to get things back to the way that they were, to get them back to what we are used to. And maybe to get them back even better than they were before.
When all of this is over, when we can come together and worship and pray and sing and celebrate, when we can shake one another’s hands and hug each other, I think that we will appreciate it a lot more than we did before. What we once took for granted, we will now cherish. You never truly appreciate what you have until you lose it and get it back. What was old will have become new.
Through the prophet Isaiah, God spoke these words: “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43: 18-19) During this time when all of our “old things” are no longer happening, I believe that God is indeed doing something new. It is my hope and my prayer that we are able to perceive this “new thing” that God is doing as it continues to spring forth among us and for us. Let us remain together as God does this new work among us.
During this time of God doing something new, let us remember that the church is not closed, that our ministry continues. Please call or text or email your needs and prayer requests. For you are not alone, we are not alone. God is with us and we have each other.
With Christ’s Love,
Maundy Thursday Holy Communion – April 9 at 7:00 p.m.
For our Maundy Thursday Communion service, during our live-stream, we will have the chance
to share together in communion even though we are not together in one place. Please be prepared
to partake of communion by using bread and wine (or any kind of juice or beverage) that you
have at home.
Readings “My Father, If It is Possible, Let This Cup Pass From Me.”
- pgs. 71-83
- pgs. 36- 42 (PDF version)
- Closing Hymn In the Hour of Trial RHW pg. 83 (42)