We began the new year with Jeremiah. It was the same chapter even though it was a few verses earlier. There was still the invitation to remember and hold onto what might be coming. We are still in that space so many weeks later as Lent begins to turn into Holy Week.
Likewise, we heard the words from this psalm when Lent first began. We need to be reminded of God’s steadfast love again. We can’t hear it enough especially after the calendar turned to mark one year of this pandemic. Photos have been shared from those last moments before it became real. Some have wondered what we would have told our past selves while so many of you, dear pastors, created gorgeous meaningful worship to mark this time physically apart.
Call to Worship Inspired by Jeremiah 31:31-34 The days are surely coming. This is the good news that we need to hear right now. It is why we come to find wonder and possibility in the days ahead. The days are surely coming is what we need to hear after this long year of isolation, worry and fear. We come to remember that this is not all there will ever be. This is not the end but a beginning of the days ahead where we will be a new people. We come, O God, to wonder who we might become in your love.
I would be tempted to include some meditative time for writing to happen in this service so that there can be greater intention as Holy Week approaches and to speak to what God is writing on our hearts right now. I might offer these words as an invitation to that quiet contemplation. It could also be used as a confession, I think, with some adaptation.
Invitation to the Heart Inspired by Jeremiah 31:31-34 We have guarded our hearts so carefully in this past year of disease and distress. We have just been trying to survive that we are not sure how to open ourselves to what might come next. As much as we have hoped and dreamed that this pandemic would end, such possibility seems beyond our grasp. It still feels too big to pinpoint and so we haven't allowed our hearts to soar into the wonders that await us. We believe there are wonders even if we are cautious. We know there are wonders that awaited our Christ after the horrors of betrayal, suffering and even death. We believe that new life awaits us too and so we share in this time through quiet wonder with pens and paper to write down the promise that we dare to believe await us in the days that are surely coming. We write these on paper with our own hand hoping that you, O God, will write this hope on our hearts as surely as you have written your law of love.
Dear pastor, I hope you are getting the rest you need in this busy season. I hope you are caring for your soul with good friends and time away from any and all responsibility. I hope you’re planning for vacation even if it’s staycation or an escape to a quiet cabin in the woods far away from even your children and spouse. I hope that this Easter Pageant for a Pandemic Year might give you that escape for one Sunday where this resource can be given to talented leaders who can do all the work to assign parts and gather videos. By God’s good grace, I hope that there is enough talent in your congregation by now to actually have someone else do the video editing so you don’t have to — but I know that’s a long shot and I hate that for you. Still, I hope it’s enough to give you a break if you’re not already prepared to use resources from your denomination or others for the Sunday after Easter. And if you are still trying to figure out the days before the resurrection, there are some ideas here.
That’s all I have for you, dear pastors. I am praying for you. I am praying for you, as always.