Due to the stay at home order in place in Illinois, the Grace Council has decided together with Pastor JoAnna and myself that we will celebrate Holy Week starting when we are able to regather to worship at Grace. The first Sunday back will be our Palm Sunday, followed by Good Friday eve worship on that first Friday The second Sunday back will be our opportunity to celebrate together the new life offered by Christ as our risen Lord. We will acknowledge that this coming Sunday, April 5, 2020 is by calendar Palm Sunday but will celebrate in earnest upon our return to worship at 343 Grand Avenue in Loves Park when it is determined to be safe health-wise.
The Scripture readings I have selected for this Sunday are: Isaiah 40:1-11; Psalm 85:1-2, 8-13; and Matthew 12:15b-21. “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God…Then the glory of the LORD (the visible expression of the LORD’S presence) shall be revealed and ALL people shall see it together,” Isaiah 40:3, 5. Right now we are in a wilderness we have not known before, walking a path into the unknown. What the promises of Scripture remind us is that the LORD goes before and behind us. God is with you.
The context of Isaiah 40 is a prophesy of God announcing the coming time when the Jews would be returning home from Babylon (Iraq area) where they have been living in captivity for seventy years. The day was coming when once again the Jews would be returning home to Palestine. God would protect them in the wilderness through which they must travel on the pathway home. They feared the wilderness because of the unknown predators who might attack, maim or even kill. Like a shepherd, the LORD God promised to gather them in his arms and bring them home, 40:11.
God is with us in this wilderness time as well. You continue to be in our prayers as well as all who serve to give medical care here and around the world. As you are able, join us online each day (M-Sat) for noon prayer and Wednesday eve and Sunday morning for worship. Thank you for your prayers and continued support and generosity!
“…do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious hand,” Isaiah 41:10.