Welcome to the "Little Church with the Big Heart".
EVPC News and Tips for the April 8 2020
Yesterday, we started hearing reports that the death toll of the coronavirus was striking the African American community at much higher rates than other groups. Today, one interviewer asked a very pointed question. “Could the death toll among this segment of our community be more a factor of poverty than any other factors?” The medical official being interviewed looked momentarily stunned by the question, but quickly gathered in and responded, “Yes, it could well be.”
Last week, the CDC warned that the actual cases and deaths from coronavirus may never be known largely because there were many people who had similar symptoms but were never tested. Several factors came into play. For one, outside of China, there were a lot of people who essentially discounted the early warnings and went on with life as usual. Then, when it became apparent that the virus was spreading rapidly outside of China, the medical community realized they didn’t have access to test kits essential to identifying the virus’s presence. As a result, there may have been a number of people who actually had coronavirus, and maybe even died from it, who will never be included in the pandemic statistics. That continues to be the case in some parts of the world—particularly within countries and regions where poverty is widespread.
For decades, organizations like the World Health Organization have been warning about probable and possible repercussions of the grossly unequal health care provided to people who live in poverty. Death rates among the poor are significantly higher than among the wealthy. There are a number of factors that contribute to that, including diet, access to clean water, living conditions, limited or no access to medical care, or even cultural distrust of medical practices of the “modern” world.
When I served as a Hospice chaplain during my first year of seminary, my eyes were opened to poverty in this country that I’d never seen before. I was in Louisville, KY. By outward appearances, Louisville seems to be a prosperous community. But in my Hospice work, I was taken back by some new awarenesses. First, I noticed that most of the people I served lived in poverty and conditions that my Spokane Valley sensitivities said, “I wouldn’t want a dog to live like this.” These were not lazy people. All of them had worked hard their whole lives, but could never stay ahead. Most could never even reach “even.” In my observations, it wasn’t because of poor money management. They simply had nothing. Second, I found that all of them had ignored the symptoms of their illnesses until it was too late for any doctor to be able to help. I always asked why. They always responded that they simply had no money to be able to go to a doctor, or for those who did go to a doctor, they weren’t able to afford treatment. (Now, this was nearly 30 years ago. I’m not convinced the access to medical care for the very poor is significantly changed today).
The third thing I found among people who lived in this level of abject poverty? Their faith put mine to shame. People shared with me so many incredible stories of how God had taken care of them and provided for them in the darkest times of their lives. And because they had had so many profound experiences of God’s care and provision, they felt absolutely free to be generous in sharing with those who had even less. I remember one woman who described for me what it was like in her life. She shared of how often her family did not have enough food to feed everyone each day. Yet, if they learned of a neighbor who had nothing to eat, they shared from what they had and didn’t have any regrets about doing so. They were glad to be able to share from what they had!
I couldn’t help but think of the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44): Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and watched the crowd putting money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which are worth a penny. Then he called his disciples and said to them, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For all of them have contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
Maybe that kind of generosity of spirit can only come from those who truly have nothing in this life and know exactly how dependent they are upon God for the life they do have. And, in all the stories we’re hearing now of the acts of generosity being carried out by people around the world, maybe more of us are starting to realize just how blest we are and God’s role in that blessing. If that’s the only lesson we take out of this pandemic, wouldn’t that still be a wonderful thing?
Holy Week Here! Though we can’t gather together in person, it shouldn’t stop us from remembering the Lamb of God and all that we’ve been granted by our loving and merciful God. Therefore, let’s gather on-line through Holy Week to remember Christ’s sacrifice and his gifts. Here’s what you can look forward to:
Monday through Saturday, 9 am, Daily Prayer. This is a short time to reflect upon God’s word in scripture and to pray together. We’ll continue our daily prayer time on this schedule throughout the coronavirus precautions.
Thurs., Apr. 9, 6:45 pm, Maundy Thursday worship. This service will include the Lord’s Supper, so please have your bread and grape juice at hand so we may celebrate the sacrament together.
Fri., Apr. 10, 6:45 pm, Good Friday worship. Let’s pause in the midst of our own isolation and remember what it must have been like for Jesus to be abandoned by his friends and left to suffer and die—all so that we may have new life.
Sun., Apr. 12, 9:30 am, Easter worship. We may not be able to celebrate with the food and hugs we’re accustomed to, but we can certainly celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the great hope that his resurrection brings us.
But all these things will be just a foretaste of a day to come! I propose that when we do finally get to return to worshiping together at our little church that we make it a huge celebration. I just beginning to coordinate with the choir and others to make our first service back at EVPC be a service of music, scripture and prayer as we hear some of the choirs anthems of Holy Week, sing our favorite hymns of Easter, and maybe even have a potluck brunch. May the sun be shining and bringing smiles to all our faces when we gather together again!
Scripture for the Day Psalm 5
Prayer for the Day. You alone, O God, are holy and righteous, and we praise you for protecting us in times of trial. Keep us safe from all evil and lead us in paths of justice that we may know the joy of trusting Jesus Christ our shield and defender. Amen.
Remember to Have Bread and Grape Juice with you for Worship on Thursday and Sunday! AND, there’s no reason we can’t put on our Easter finest to help ourselves get into the mood!
East Valley Presbyterian Church has served the communities of Otis Orchards, Newman Lake, Liberty Lake, and Greenacres since 1986. Located on Harvard Road, just 2.5 miles north of Liberty Lake, this is a small church in which people see one another as family. The hallmarks of this congregation the warm, welcoming, and loving way in which all newcomers are treated; its traditional-style of worship; its deep exploration of scripture; and, its firm belief in the power of prayer.
We see ourselves as “The Little Church with the Big Heart where people help one another feel safe, loved, and spiritually whole.”
Our pastor is the Reverend Marcia Taylor, a native of Spokane Valley, who has served God with us since 2000.
Jesus’ Triumphal Entry
As Jesus and his disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of his disciples into the village and said, “Go. Just as you enter the village, you’ll find a colt tied there which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you why you’re doing that, tell them “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”
They went into the village and found a colt tied at a doorway. As they untied it, some people standing nearby asked “What are you doing untying that colt?” They answered just as Jesus had told them, and the people let them go.
When they brought the colt to Jesus, they threw their cloaks over it, and he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they’d cut from the fields. Some people ran ahead shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
Call to Worship
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST!
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
BE LIFTED UP YOU ANCIENT DOORS THAT THE KING OF GLORY MAY COME IN.
Who is this King of glory?
THE LORD ALMIGHTY—HE IS THE KING OF GLORY!
Blessed One, we are humbled by your example. You entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey. You emptied yourself and came as a servant to all, forsaking the power to command. Son of David, come to us now and be our King, that we too may sing our hosannas! Amen.
Hosanna, Loud Hosanna (Public Domain)
Hosanna, loud hosanna, the little children sang;
Through pillared court and temple the lovely anthem rang;
to Jesus, who had blessed them close folded to his breast,
The children sang their praises, the simplest and the best.
“Hosanna in the highest!” That ancient song we sing,
For Christ is our Redeemer, the Lord of Heaven, our King;
O may we ever praise him with heart and life and voice,
And in his blissful presence eternally rejoice!
Call to Confession
When we confess our sins, we do so in recognition that Jesus has already sacrificed and made forgiveness available to us. So, together, let us confess:
HOLY AND MERCIFUL GOD, IN YOUR PRESENCE WE CONFESS OUR SINFULNESS, OUR SHORTCOMINGS, AND OUR OFFENSES AGAINST. YOU. YOU ALONE KNOW HOW OFTEN WE HAVE SINNED IN WANDERING FROM YOUR WAYS, IN WASTING YOUR GIFTS, IN FORGETTING YOUR LOVE. HAVE MERCY ON US, O LORD, FOR WE ARE ASHAMED AND SORRY FOR ALL WE HAVE DONE TO DISPLEASE YOU. FORGIVE OUR SINS, AND HELP US TO LIVE IN YOUR LIGHT, AND WALK IN YOUR WAYS, FOR THE SAKE OF JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOR. AMEN.
Assurance of Pardon
Hear the good news! Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us. Anyone who is in Christ is a new creation. The old life has gone; a new life has begun. Know that you are forgiven and be at peace.
Passing the Peace of Christ
Just as Christ has made forgiveness available to us, let’s share that joy with others. May the peace of Christ be with you all.
AND ALSO WITH YOU.
Please greet one another with the peace of Christ.
Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession
Scripture Reading Hebrews 10:19-25; 11:1
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. … Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Meditation Jesus Is Greater Than; Therefore, Have Faith
Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper
Friends, this is the joyful feast of the people of God! Scripture tells us that the time will come when people will come from east and west, from north and south to sit at the table God has prepared for us in his kingdom. This meal is but a shadow and foretaste of that great banquet. All who believe in Christ as their Lord and Savior are welcome to come to share in the feast and share in the memories of what Christ has done. Let us pray.
O Lord our God, creator and ruler of the universe. In your wisdom, you made all things and sustain them by your power. You formed us in your image, setting us in this world to love and serve you, and to live in peace with your whole creation. When we rebelled against you refusing to trust and obey you, you did not reject us, but still claimed us as your own. You sent prophets to call us back to your way. Then, in the fullness of time, out of your great love for the world, you sent your only Son to be one of us, to redeem us and heal our brokenness. Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with choirs of angels, with prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and with all the faithful of very time and place who forever sing to the glory of your name.
Remembering your gracious acts in Jesus Christ, we take from your creation this bread and this fruit of the vine and joyfully celebrate his dying and rising, as we await the day of his coming.
WITH THANKSGIVING WE OFFER OUR VERY SELVES TO YOU TO BE A LIVING AND HOLY SACRIFICE
DEDICATED TO YOUR SERVICE. AMEN.
OUR FATHER, WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD, AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS;
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL,
FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN.
Words of Institution
On the night of his arrest, our Lord Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take and eat. This is my body broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
After supper, he took the cup and said, “This is the cup of the new covenant pored out for you in my blood for the forgiveness of sins. Drink of it, all of you, in remembrance of me.”
Paul reminds us that each time we eat this bread and drink this cup we proclaim again the saving death of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are the gifts of God for the people of God, thanks be to God.
Distribution of the Elements. I invite all who are able to partake of the bread and grape juice or wine that you’ve brought to the Lord’s table. If you have not been able to get these elements, I encourage you to use our communion prayers as your thanksgiving over your next meal, and think of it as an agape meal—a love feast—between yourself, your loved ones, and God.
Prayer after Communion
We thank you, O God, that through Word and Sacrament you have given us your Son who is the true bread from heaven and food of eternal life. So strengthen us in your service that our daily living may show our thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Sending and Benediction
GOD BE WITH YOU ‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN; BY HIS COUNSELS GUIDE, UPHOLD YOU, WITH HIS SHEEP SECURELY FOLD YOU. GOD BE WITH YOU ‘TIL WE MEET AGAIN.