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Easter

Just these lines, my friends …
… to say that there’s a Birthday coming up! 801South is approaching the 3-year anniversary of being a worshipping community of Matthews United Methodist. To celebrate, we are partnering with Bright Blessings, a Matthews nonprofit serving the greater Charlotte region, by bringing joy, care, and hope to homeless and impoverished children. We will hold a “Bless a Birthday” collection on April 23 and 30 to celebrate and support this organization! Visit 801South.org and scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of requested items. If you will, please bring your gifts by The Commons on those two Sundays. I hope you’ll join us in celebrating three remarkable years of 801South.

I sent a note to all our ushers over the past week saying “thank you” from all of us for their faithful service. One of them, Scott Lyons, sent me a note. Listen to his inspiring reply: “My usher service is a joy in my life! To arrive at Church early and have the personal pleasure to welcome others to a place of peace is a gift each and every time! I believe it is an honor to welcome all to MUMC, a refuge in the storm of life where through the love of Jesus we are all blessed to receive his grace irrespective of our circumstances. My gift is simply to smile, recognize as many as I can by name, welcome them and anticipate their individual preferences or needs while trying to ensure they are all safe, comfortable and then just allow Jesus to do his work! As for the latecomers– when asked, I remind them no one is ever late for Church! We are always glad to see them! Thanks for the opportunity to bring the joy of usher service to my heart!”

Reading those words inspires me into this Holy Week. If you know Scott and his wife, Linda, you know their lives are defined by “welcome, hospitality and Easter hope.” They will both join other ushers and greeters to welcome you into the awe and wonder of Holy Week worship (click for schedule) over the next few days at Matthews United Methodist.

It hardly seems possible that it has been 35 years since I took a worship class from Dr. James White at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. He may have been the first person I ever heard describing the events of Holy Week in a liturgical fashion. He knew more about how the Church has worshipped through the ages than any person I’ve ever known.

This past Sunday, we entered the week we call Holy with our celebration of Palm Sunday in all its splendor, as the first day of this roller-coaster week which goes from the highs of festive worship to the darkness of the garden and the agony of Good Friday. On Sunday we waved our palm fronds and sang the songs and hymns of joy, welcoming Christ as our coming Redeemer.

But now, the darkness descends. Day by day this week, we will make our way into the very depths of suffering, following Jesus on his journey toward the cross. During Holy Week 35 years ago Dr. White told us, “There will be a time for debating the theories of the atonement and the authenticity of the texts, but today we simply stand in awe at the foot of the cross.” And with his voice quivering, holding back tears, he quoted the Wesley hymn, “O love divine, what hast thou done? The incarnate God hath died for me. The Father’s co-eternal son bore all my sin upon the tree. The son of God for me hath died; my Lord, my love is crucified.” Dr. White taught me the rubrics of worship, but he also taught me to simply stand in awe at the foot of the cross.

I hope you join us in this journey to the cross. Then, and only then, will we be ready to gather at the empty tomb.

God of unwavering love, 
how do I “celebrate”
 the passion and death of Jesus? 
I often want to look the other way
 and not watch, 
not stay with Jesus in his suffering.
 
Give me the strength
 to see his love with honesty and compassion 
and to feel deeply
 your own forgiveness and mercy for me. 
Help me to understand
 how to “celebrate” this week. 
I want to be able to bring
 my weaknesses and imperfections with me 
as I journey with Jesus this week,
 
so aware of his love.

I literally can’t wait to share our days (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter) together for the first time. Thank you for the privilege that is mine of being your pastor and friend.

Standing in awe,

Dr. Charles (Chuck) W. Wilson II
Chuck@MatthewsUMC.org

  • Did you know our Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship recipient from the Crestdale community, Claudia Alford, will be attending East Carolina University where she will be a nursing student?
  • Did you know our Confirmands made “God is Love” bookmarks and attached ribbon with beads while on the Spring Retreat? These will brighten the day for recipients of our Friendship Trays that are delivered to our Homebound.
  • Did you know that MUMC provides RightNow Media for you and your family, and that you can gift it to neighbors and friends? Just log in to com and click on Contacts to invite others to access this wonderful resource of Bible Studies and children’s content.
  • Did you know that 50 Easter bags filled with goodies are being delivered with our shut-in meals this week? Our Tuesday morning women’s study assembled these special bags.