As I began to write this update, it occurred to me how similar this email is to the others I have sent. Similar information and similar encouragements. It reminded me how similar the days have become. I've even talked to people through the week who confess humorously with me that we lose track of what day it is sometimes.
It all made me think of the movie Groundhog Day in which the main character gets stuck living the same day (groundhog day) every day for what seems like an endless amount of time. There is much about our experience currently that seems like we are living the same day every day and with no end in sight. It can tempt us to think that our world and life are small and uninteresting or that nothing we do matters to any extent. And these thoughts can suddenly lead us down dark roads of despair and fear. I've had days like that myself.
As I contemplate this prison of lies, it reminded of the apostle Paul and his letter written from an actual prison to the people of the church in Philippi. A letter filled with such life and joy it's hard to imagine it came from a man in chains. I'd encourage you to read the whole letter as you have a chance this week, but even the opening paragraphs highlight some of the keys to finding joy in a prison: Thankfulness, community, kingdom, and love.
It's easy to spiral down a road where all we see is our loss and strain, Gratitude reminds us of all we have and will have in spite of our circumstances, People and relationships are vital to our joy and central to God's grace for us. Where it was in the garden when God saw that it was not good for man to be alone or in Paul's letter where he prays and writes to his friends and contemplates their partnership or to us as Zoom and call and text and write cards and notes. Paul is also quick to share that in a small confined life experience we possess the kingdom of God in our hearts, None of our worlds is small. Each of God's people lives in a far-reaching continually expanding kingdom of the savior with limitless possibility. Lastly, a huge key to joy is lingering on love. The love we have around us, the love we share, but mostly the love the Lord provides to us that reminds us how he feels about us and the lengths he's willing to go for us.
Cancellations and Live Streaming
We will once again meet for worship, separate but together, on Sunday at 10 am. The link and the bulletin with this email. The elders and I will be meeting this week to consider how to proceed into May. We continue to be committed to partner with our community and regional leaders to help stem the tide of this crisis. We desire everyone to be safe and healthy and cared for. The session is encouraged that this indeed is the case for all the many who call Hanover Valley home. Yet, we continue to monitor and check-in with each other and encourage you to do the same.
Thank you for the ways you have been loving and patient with us and each other. Let us know how we can be caring for one another's needs. Share your prayer concerns and encouragements. Meet in and see faces and smiles in zoom. I am continually surprised at how my heart lifts when I see and hear others in groups through technology. We love you and are praying for you and long to be back with you.
HANOVER VALLEY PRESBYTERIAN BULLETIN
April 26th, 2020
Call to Worship
Lord Most High
From the ends of the earth,
From the depths of the sea
From the heights of the heavens,
Your name be praised
From the hearts of the weak,
From the shouts of the strong
From the lips of all people,
This song we raise, Lord
Throughout the endless ages,
You will be crowned with praises,
Lord most High
Exalted in every nation
Sovereign of all Creation,
Lord most High, be magnified (Repeat from beginning)
Tag: Be magnified
Corporate Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, to know you is to discover the fulfillment of our deepest longings and the satisfaction of our most ardent desires. Yet foolishly we have sought our pleasures elsewhere. We have strayed like lost sheep. Wandering from you, we have been captivated by inordinate desires, which are bound to leave us empty. We have failed to love you with our whole heart, soul, and mind. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. Forgive us of our sins for the sake of your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, who was crushed for our iniquities. And grant that from now on we might serve you in newness of life. Amen.
Words of Encouragement
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. - Colossians 3:1-4
Announcements & Prayers of the People
Offering & Special Music
Scripture: Hebrews 11
Sermon - Faith Under Pressure
Song of Reflection
Lamb of God
Your only Son, no sin to hide,
But You have sent Him from Your side
To walk upon this guilty sod
And to become the Lamb of God.
Your gift of love they crucified.
They laughed and scorned Him as He died.
The humble King they named a fraud
And sacrificed the Lamb of God.
Chorus: O Lamb of God, sweet Lamb of God,
I love the holy Lamb of God.
O wash me in His precious blood,
My Jesus Christ the Lamb of God.
I was so lost, I should have died,
But You have brought me to Your side
To be led by Your staff and rod
And to be called a lamb of God.
Parting Song of Praise
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him, all creatures here below
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!