Vandalia United Methodist Church

**The Church office is closed until April 7**

The church office will be closed throughout the duration of the stay at home order. Church phone and email will be monitored if you have a need. If you have an essential need, call or email the office, and someone will be in contact with you.

Maundy Thursday supper and service is cancelled. If we are able to gather on Easter Sunday, April 12, it will just be one service at 9:30a without a Sunrise Service, Breakfast, or the serving of Communion.

From the Pastor's Study

The God of the Past is the God of Our Future

I have two favorite flowers: roses and tulips. Prior to entering the ministry, when I was living at home, I raised hybrid tea roses. They required a lot of care, but the work paid off with beautiful blooms throughout the year. Tulips, on the other hand, just show up and do their thing.

My appreciation for tulips began when I received a pot of tulip bulbs from a parishioner during a hospital stay in 1987 as I battled Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. I watched the flowers slowly advance from the soil, produce buds, and reveal their beauty with bright red blooms. They became a symbol of my gradual return to health. They grew to reveal their full potential as I became stronger day by day, overcoming fevers and pain.

I was at Walmart, just prior to the mandatory stay at home order (trying not to hoard like everyone else), and saw tulips on display just outside the entrance of the store. I purchased a pot and placed them on the fireplace mantel in my family room. I have been able to watch them reveal their beauty over the last week. Ever so slowly green leaves rose from the pot, then buds appeared from within the leaves, and overnight the orange and yellow blooms were revealed. As I have witnessed their growth, my mind goes back to the time when a pot of red tulips symbolized my return to health. They remind me of past battles won because of the grace and power of my God.

Whenever the Jews struggled, they recalled their history with God. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who rescued them in their past, would be there for them in their future. That’s the symbolism and hope found within the Passover celebration. They recall how a lamb was slaughtered, its blood placed upon the doorframe, and the angel of death, seeing the blood, passed over the homes of their ancestors. The killing of the oldest Egyptian, male children finally persuaded Pharaoh to released the Israelites from slavery. Thus, in the annual observance of Passover, the Jews celebrate that the God who rescued them in their past is their hope for the future. The God that was, is, and always will be.

Each Easter we recall that Jesus has become the Passover Lamb. His blood was shed on the cross and has symbolically been painted on the doorframes of our lives. The angel of death passes over those of us who know Jesus as our Savior, and we will have eternal life.

Jesus’ one act in the past is our hope for the future. He has not forgotten us, and we celebrate his continual presence in our lives each time we worship. We draw strength by remembering that the Jesus, who helped us through struggles of the past, is with us in this moment and will be with us throughout eternity.

 

Church plans: The mandatory stay at home order expires on April 7. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is extended. I can't predict the future, but there are a few things I can share. All events planned through April 7 are, of course, cancelled. We would like to have the choir’s Easter Cantata in the future. Louise said the choir will need several weeks for rehearsals and then be ready. The Maundy Thursday Supper/Service is cancelled since there is no time to prepare even if the order is lifted on April 7. Besides, I wouldn’t feel comfortable holding such a communal event. Whenever we do return to worship, that will be Easter Sunday. If we are able to gather on April 12, it will be just one service at 9:30a without a Sunrise Service, Breakfast, or the serving of communion. Plans will likely change, and we will keep you posted via email and our website.

I will continue to offer daily “Call to Prayer” devotions and weekly worship outlines. They are emailed to each household, using the preferred email address that you have provided. Feel free to forward them to others. Casey posts each daily Call to Prayer on Facebook.

Please continue to practice methods that will keep you safe and healthy. If any one does not feel comfortable in getting out, but has a need, don’t hesitate to contact me or the church office. Continue to pray for our governmental leadership and those tending to the needs of the public.

Blessings,
Terry



9:30 AM Worship Service
10:40 AM Sunday School


First United Methodist Church of Vandalia :: 618.283.3684