John 16:16-24 – From Grief to Joy

Light Shining in Darkness
“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.” ~ Carl Jung

Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So, with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (NIV)

Jesus tended to say things that were neither expected nor wanted. That was even true of Christ’s own disciples who walked and talked with him for three years. Jesus consistently told them there must be suffering before glory. Getting them to buy into such an idea is like trying to get a bunch of Baptists to write their names on a sign-up sheet at church.

Christ was speaking to his disciples in the Upper Room, the last meal he had with them before his death. When they were called by Jesus three years earlier, the disciples were not expecting all the gibberish about leaving and grieving. To put this in contemporary terms, the disciples’ response was akin to saying, “I only think positive. I don’t listen to things that are negative.” Suffering, death, and grief were far from the disciples’ expectations of how things would and should shake-out. They had a hard time understanding what the heck Jesus was saying because his words were out of alignment with their assumptions. Yes, there would be glory and joy. First, however, there must be suffering and grief.

I tend to think in metaphors, so I like that Jesus uses one to bring some context about leaving and returning. And I resonate a lot with his metaphor. My dear wife spent 128 days on total bed rest before our youngest daughter was born. During those four months, we agonized over the health of our little peanut in the womb. I was also in a constant state of concern for my wife’s health. This kind of pregnancy we were not expecting. Those months were hard not only for us but also for our two daughters who needed to step up and participate in family life in new and different ways.

There were months of pain and hardship, not to mention the actual pain of childbirth. Finally, our little girl was born – a bit small, yet, quite healthy. Our grief turned to joy. Nothing could ever take away that joy. We prayed hard back in those days. We asked. We received. And our joy was complete. When I look back on those days, I can remember the anguish. Yet, what prominently stands out is the joy because true unmitigated joy has the power to swallow grief and despondency whole.

In talking through with his disciples about their disappointment of his leaving and their grieving, Jesus graciously gave them the gift of joy. Yes, there can be and is joy in the mourning. Not every story has a happy ending. I can say, however, that the grandest story of all – Jesus Christ’s suffering and death – has resulted in resurrection and ascension. It will all be complete when Christ returns to judge the living and the dead. Then, the grand narrative of redemption will have its conclusion of no more crying, tears, or pain. There will be only unending joy.

For now, we still experience heartache along with the joy of new life. It can be confusing living in the awkward state of simultaneous grief and joy. Yet, keep in mind that the grief is temporary, and the despair will not last. Joy, on the other hand, has staying power and will be the permanent state of the believer. It is only the smaller stories which may or may not end well. The big story of redemption already has the ending written – joy without grief.

Christ is risen! Therefore, we need not wait to be happy or expect that everything must go our way to have joy. The good news is that there are always fresh opportunities to be happy through asking and receiving. Imagine a Partridge Family kind of bus coming around to all the bus stops of life. Happy times and music arrive around the clock. Chances are the opportunity to be happy has already arrived. Often, it is right in front of us; we just missed the bus because we were daydreaming about a future state of joy.

We are living in the days of the new normal and continual change. Just as there was no going back to a three-year hiatus of the disciples walking with Jesus, so we need to embrace new and different ways of life together here on planet earth. We have the gift of joy. Its just a matter of unpacking it.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

1 Peter 1:3-9 – Joy and Suffering

This is the day the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Simply click the video below for a message from God’s Word.

Here are a few links for you:

You can click TimEhrhardtYouTube to view this message on YouTube.

Click Les Miserables to watch the scene described at the beginning of the message.

And, click I Am Not Alone by Kari Jobe to be encouraged that God is with us.

Grace to you always, my friends.

Joy and Suffering

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“Jean Valjean, my brother, you no longer belong to what is evil but to what is good. I have bought your soul to save it from black thoughts and the spirit of perdition, and I give it to God.” ― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

One of my favorite stories is Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.  It’s primarily a story of grace and new life.  The main character, Jean Valjean, spends nineteen years in jail for stealing a loaf of bread for his starving family.  The experience in prison caused him to become a bitter man.  By the time he is released, he is hard, angry, cynical, with nowhere to go.  In desperation, he seeks lodging one night at the home of a Catholic bishop, who treats him with genuine kindness, which Valjean sees only as an opportunity to exploit.  In the middle of the night he steals the bishop’s silver and runs.  The next day, however, he is caught by the police.  When they bring Jean back to the bishop’s house for identification, the police are surprised when the bishop hands two silver candlesticks to Valjean, implying that he had given the stolen silver to him, saying, “You forgot these.”  After dismissing the police, the bishop turns to Jean Valjean and says, “I have bought your soul for God.”  In that moment, by the bishop’s act of mercy, Valjean’s bitterness is broken.

Jean Valjean’s forgiveness is the beginning of a new life.  The bulk of Victor Hugo’s novel demonstrates the utter power of a regenerated and redeemed life.  Jean chooses the way of mercy, as the bishop did.  Valjean raises an orphan, spares the life of a parole officer who spent fifteen years hunting him, and saves his future son-in-law from death, even though it nearly cost him his own life.  There are trials and temptations for Valjean throughout his life.  What keeps him pursuing his new life is mercy.  Whereas before, Valjean responded to mercy with a brooding melancholy and inner anger, now – after being shown grace – Valjean responds to each case of unjust suffering with both mercy and joy, deeply thankful for the chance to live a new life full of grace.

JoySuffering
Followers of Jesus imitate their Savior through walking the way of suffering.

Suffering and joy.  Those two words, at first glance, may seem to be opposites.  Yet, Christianity views suffering as an occasion for joy, and not as empty meaningless grief.  Followers of Jesus imitate their Savior through walking the way of suffering.  We are told in Holy Scripture that these sufferings are trials to our faith, that is, they are the means by which our faith is developed, used, and strengthened.  Just as gold is refined by being put through fire, so our faith is refined and proven genuine through the purging fires of life’s trials and troubles.  Walking in the way of our Lord Jesus, adversity becomes our Teacher, helping us to know Christ better and appreciate the great salvation we possess in Jesus. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

Back in the first century, the Apostle Peter wrote a letter to Jewish Christians living in a Gentile society.  They were strangers and aliens in the ancient world.  These were people who responded to the preaching of Peter at Pentecost and gave their lives to the risen Christ.  When persecution broke out after the stoning of Stephen, the church was scattered, and many Jewish Christians went to live in Gentile nations very different from their home in Jerusalem.  In that Gentile environment, they were often looked down upon simply because they were Jewish.  What’s more, they were alienated from their families because of their commitment to Jesus.  They were alone and faced both the social and economic hardships that came with being Jewish Christians.  So, Peter wrote to encourage these suffering believers in their hardship.  He reminded them of what they possess and to use that precious possession rather than focus solely on their poverty and difficulty.  Peter let them know that their adversity has the positive effect of making their faith genuine.

Every generation of Christians needs to see that their faith is not only a matter of confession with the lips; faith is also proven primarily through suffering.  Faith is much like a new car – it is meant to be used.  It’s not just something we own and possess – to only sit in the garage and be admired.  A car is meant to be on the road, and if it does not perform well, we say it’s a lemon and we get another car.  Cars are the vehicles that get us from point A to point B.  And, hopefully, we enjoy the ride without being frustrated and having road rage.  It is unrealistic, as drivers, to believe we will never have to drive in adverse road conditions.  We recognize that it is silly to believe the weather must always conform to our driving habits.  We will have to drive through snow and thunderstorms.  We will need to deal with traffic and road construction.  We will have to drive defensively and continually be vigilant to the other drivers on the road.  We might always have a plan for how to get from point A to point B, yet, we must deal with whatever conditions we find along the way.  This isn’t optional, unless we decide to let the car sit in the garage and never use it.

The winter road with car
Mature Christians allow their faith to take them places, and have seen all kinds of adversity and suffering along the road of life.

Good drivers are good drivers because they drive a lot and have driven in nearly every type of road condition.  Mature Christians are those followers of Jesus who allow their faith to take them places, have seen all kinds of adversity, trials, and suffering along the road of life.  What makes them mature is that they have learned through all their troubles and trials to enjoy what God is doing in their lives instead of being frustrated and have faith-fury.  Such Christians have the confidence that they are receiving the goal of their faith, the salvation of their souls.  They understand that their faith grows and develops as they face the challenges of life every day with a firm commitment to their Lord Jesus.

The most miserable people are those who have not been taught by mercy, and, therefore, do not know the joy of extending mercy to others.  Peter could praise God because his life was transformed by the grace and mercy of Jesus.  Peter went from an impulsive and fearful fisherman who denied the Lord three times, to a confident and courageous witness of Christ because he was regenerated, restored, and renewed by grace.  He joyfully endured suffering and opposition because his faith was precious to him.

There is a tendency for many Christians to show a stoic attitude through the trials of life.  We try and keep a stiff upper lip and simply endure.  Taking the approach of “It is what it is” only works for so long.  Eventually “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” is a more appropriate response to trouble. It is precisely during those times when human hope fades that we rejoice – even though the rejoicing is through tears – in the living hope kept for us. This gracious inheritance of hope is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. That means we can live through a difficult day or week or month or even, dear God, a year or longer with spiritual endurance. We can do this, friends.  We can persevere through our worldwide trial of pandemic.  We can even do more than survive – we can thrive through having our faith muscle stretched and strengthened.  We are not alone.  We all suffer together.

MotherTeresa
“Suffering, if it is accepted together, borne together, is joy.” –Mother Teresa

Our shared value of the risen Christ is the fuel that keeps our car of faith running.  It is what transcends the stoic attitude of unfeeling endurance to a joyful flourishing of faith.  Suffering is central to living for Jesus Christ.  Suffering is not something to continually avoid, go around, or bemoan because it is God’s means of forming us spiritually to be like Jesus.  I can say that the sufferings I’ve experienced in my own life I never want to go through again. I can also say that I would not change those experiences for anything because they have formed and shaped me in ways that would probably not have happened apart from adversity.

Our goal in this life is not to escape the world.  There is a time coming when our salvation will be consummated, heaven comes down to earth, and both are joined forever.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.  I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of god is with men, and he will live with them.  They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.  He will wipe every tear from their eyes.  There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:1-4). 

This is our inheritance in Christ.  First, however, we must come prepared for the future by undergoing grief in all kinds of sufferings in the present.  These trials to our faith are a sort of pre-marital session that prepare us for our marriage with Jesus.

Eventually, suffering will have done its work and we will be with Christ forever.  Until that day, let’s not stay in the garage of life.  Let us explore all that God has for us, embracing both the meaning and the mystery of faith.  Since our salvation is assured, let us live with confidence and run the race marked out for us.  Let us not be complacent or slow in doing the will of God, but work for God’s kingdom purposes on this earth.  And let us allow our trials to do their work in us, responding to them with joy knowing that our faith is being strengthened for the benefit of blessing the world.  Even in suffering, God is good all the time; and, all the time, God is good.  To him be the glory.

“I Have Seen the Lord!” – John 20:1-18

“Christ is risen!”…  “He is risen, indeed!”

Welcome friends.  Simply click the video below and let us celebrate the Lord Jesus Christ’s victory over sin, death, and hell by means of a mighty resurrection.

You may also view this video on TimEhrhardtYouTube

To extend our recognition of this glorious day, here are two links for you:

I’ve Just Seen Jesus sung by Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty is an oldie, but still a wondrous goodie.

Hallelujah Chorus arranged by Quincy Jones is one of the most celebratory arrangements you’ll find on this classic Handel song.  Sung by the Singin’ Black and White choir, if this doesn’t bring you to life, you still think Jesus is a gardener.

Finally, here is the full version of the original hymn written by Carolyn Gillette (sung at the beginning of the video):

This Easter Celebration (to the tune of “The Church’s One Foundation”)

This Easter celebration is not like ones we’ve known.

We pray in isolation, we sing the hymns alone.

We’re distant from our neighbors — from worship leaders, too.

No flowers grace the chancel to set a festive mood.

 

No gathered choirs are singing; no banners lead the way.

O God of love and promise, where’s joy this Easter Day?

With sanctuaries empty, may homes become the place

we ponder resurrection and celebrate your grace.

 

Our joy won’t come from worship that’s in a crowded room

but from the news of women who saw the empty tomb.

Our joy comes from disciples who ran with haste to see —

who heard that Christ is risen, and then, by grace, believed.

 

In all the grief and suffering, may we remember well:

Christ suffered crucifixion and faced the powers of hell.

Each Easter bears the promise: Christ rose that glorious day!

Now nothing in creation can keep your love away.

 

We thank you that on Easter, your church is blessed to be

a scattered, faithful body that’s doing ministry.

In homes and in the places of help and healing, too,

we live the Easter message by gladly serving you.

 

Tune: Samuel Sebastian Wesley, 1864 (“The Church’s One Foundation”)  (MIDI)

Text: Copyright © 2020 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.

Email: carolynshymns@gmail.com     New Hymns: http://www.carolynshymns.com/

This new hymn is a prayer to be used in Easter 2020 worship services, while most churches are closed and people are remaining in their homes because of the pandemic. It can be used for online worship or in online written communications from a church to its members. Permission is given for free use.

Bitmoji Air Hugs

 

Hebrews 12:1-3 – Wednesday of Holy Week

“If there is a meaning in life at all, then there must be a meaning in suffering. Suffering is an ineradicable part of life, even as fate and death. Without suffering and death, human life cannot be complete.” –Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (NIV)

We are moving inexorably to the cross of Christ.  Along the way we face opposition, ridicule, misunderstanding, and betrayal.  And, yet, today’s New Testament reading informs us that this is initiated, motivated, and animated because of joy.  The path leading to the cross and the cross of Christ itself was painful in every sense of the word.  This doesn’t sound joyful at all.  There’s no definition in any dictionary which includes  suffering and shame with the word joy.

Jesus did not relish in being hurt by others because pain with no purpose is nothing but tragic despair.  Rather, Jesus clearly understood what the end of his suffering would accomplish: the saving of many lives.

Trying to make sense of this great sacrifice on our behalf can be mind-blowing.  No earthly illustration or word-picture can begin to adequately capture the idea.  Yet, maybe we can understand focusing the necessary discipline, effort, endurance, and pain in order to accomplish a goal.  In other words, the most significant and important goals of our lives require a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears to realize.  In a former life I was a cross country runner (back far enough for Sherman to set the way-back machine).  When I was running on a road or a golf course, I would sometimes get that very nasty and sharp pain in my side while running.  It is called a side cramp, or side stitch.  If you have never experienced it, the pain feels like an intense stabbing, as if someone were taking a knife and twisting it inside you.  Runners know there’s only one thing to do when this occurs: Keep running through the pain and it will subside in a few minutes.  To stop running only exacerbates and prolongs the hurt, not to mention losing a race.

Jesus endured the cross knowing he was going to experience terrible excruciating pain.  He also knew that not facing the shame of it and avoiding the agony would only make things worse; it wouldn’t take care of the problem of sin.  Jesus persevered through the foulness and degradation of the cross for you and me.  The pain was worth it to him.  Christ did not circumvent the cross; he embraced it so that the result would be people’s deliverance from death and hell.  The end game of his redemptive work was joy over deposing the ruler of this dark world and obliterating obstacles to people’s faith.

Suffering often does not fit into our equation of the Christian life; and, yet, it needs to.  Since Jesus bled and died for us, it is our privilege to follow him along the way of suffering.  Holy Week is a time to reflect and remember on such a great sacrifice, and to consider our Christian lives in the face of such great love.

Gracious Lord Jesus, I give you eternal thanks for your mercy toward me through the cross.  It is a small thing for me to follow you even it means great suffering on my part.  My life is yours.  Use it as you will, through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Click There Is A Redeemer by Crossings Worship to continue the contemplation on the redemptive events of Jesus.

Psalm 118 – “A Spiritual Pilgrimage”

Welcome, friends!  On this Palm Sunday, let us give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Click on the video below to join in the joyful procession….

The following links are for your use and enjoyment:

If you are having any difficulty with the video on this site, you can click TimEhrhardtYouTube to view and listen.

To learn more about the Labyrinth, click How to Walk a Labyrinth for a short guided tour.

Click Give Thanks and allow Filipino singer Janella Salvador to lead you in song.

May we walk and feel the ground of the coming week, that is Holy Week, for it is on this sacred soil that we live and run, work and play, praise and lament.

A Spiritual Pilgrimage

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It seems strange sitting here in my home with no anticipation of being around children waving palm leaves.  It feels awkward facing the beginning of Holy Week with the prospect of no physical gatherings of Christian believers.  Perhaps with the exception of this year, every year on Palm Sunday thousands of Christians, from all over the world, gather in the small town of Bethphage, located just two miles outside of Jerusalem – to walk to Jerusalem like Jesus did in his triumphal entry on a donkey.  Many of those pilgrims carry palm and olive branches.  All the people sing hymns as they walk up the Mount of Olives, down into the Kidron Valley, and then up Mount Moriah into the Old City of Jerusalem. It is a worship experience filled with gratitude. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1)

Every year there are others along the pilgrim path appearing out of place for such a joyous journey.  Spread out along the way are Israeli military soldiers wearing full combat gear, carrying automatic weapons over their shoulders and gazing on the spectacle of worshiping Christians before them. Other Israeli Jews look on with a mix of indifference or concern.  Maybe we can imagine that Jesus encountered a similar experience with people laying palm branches along his path; Roman soldiers all around; and, Jews looking on with curiosity.  It might have been easy for Jesus to avoid Jerusalem and not face the cross that he knew was coming at the end of the week.  It might be easy for us to avoid adversity and suffering. Yet, Jesus continued his journey into Jerusalem because of joy and gratitude. Psalm 118 ends like it begins: “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his love endures forever.”

Joy and gratitude can be our strength in times of adversity.  Yet, it will only come as we join the spiritual pilgrimage.

Psalm 118 is a liturgy for worshipers coming to Jerusalem and the temple from all parts of Israel in order to celebrate Passover.  Like the Christian pilgrims on Palm Sunday, the ancient Jewish worshipers ascended Jerusalem with great anticipation.  They sing of God’s love and remember the deliverance from Egypt and slavery into the freedom of the Promised Land.

The word for “love” throughout Psalm 118 is my favorite word in the Old Testament.  It is a rich word which is difficult to translate in English because the term is so dense with meaning.  The Hebrew word is chesed and the New International Version translates it in various ways:  grace, covenant loyalty, mercy, compassion, kindness, and consistently translated in Psalm 118 as “love.”  It is the kind of love that is graciously given despite whether a person deserves it or not.  It is a steadfast love that holds on and does not let go.

God is a God who consistently gives grace when we fall short; shows unflagging commitment where we are fickle; gives unbounded mercy when we are broken; provides constant compassion when we have been hurt; provides kindness even when we are unkind; and, dispenses enduring love which, for the Christian, finds its ultimate expression in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior, who embodied “chesed for us so that we might experience life to the full.  Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.

We may be under directives to stay at home, yet, we have the gracious opportunity to walk on a spiritual pilgrimage every day to the very heart of God and meet love face to face. How might you and I do that?

Labyrinth

One way is through walking a Labyrinth.  This is an ancient practice of the Church meant for spiritual centering, contemplation, and prayer. Entering the serpentine path of a labyrinth, one walks slowly while quieting the mind and focusing on a spiritual question or prayer.  A labyrinth is not a maze. It has only one winding path to the center and back out.  The wisdom of the Labyrinth is that it reflects life, that is, our lives are not about the destination – life is about the long circuitous journey.  The Christian life is consistently described in the New Testament as a road or a way.  We walk with Jesus.

Although many Labyrinths are typically found within churches, church grounds, or in park spaces (and many or most of these are currently closed) we can utilize “finger” Labyrinths.  Rather than physically walking, you can slowly trace the path with your finger.  You might also get creative and make your own homemade Labyrinth in a space of your home or yard.  Click The Labyrinth Society to get free printable Labyrinths, as well as take a virtual Labyrinth walk.

ChartresLabyrinth

The Labyrinth is not meant to be a race to the center; it only “works” if we move at a pace which enables us to meditatively pray, paying attention to what God is doing within us.  Generally, there are four stages to the walk:

  • Releasing on the way toward the center – letting go of all that weighs us down in the Christian life.  “Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, CEB)
  • Receiving in the center – accepting the love God has for you.  Jesus said, “Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16:24, NRSV)
  • Returning through following the path back out – integrating what you have received for the life of the world.  “I will give them a heart to know me, God. They will be my people and I will be their God, for they will have returned to me with all their hearts.” (Jeremiah 24:7, The Message)
  • Responding to the love of God through gratitude – thus finding joy, even in the most troubling of circumstances.  “O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 118:1, NRSV)

The penitent heart will resonate deeply with the psalms as worship liturgy.  This is because liturgical practices impress the spirit and bring spiritual freedom.  We will only find this odd if we have nothing to repent of.  Turning from sinful liturgies of life and turning to a new liturgy of following Jesus is like walking through a gate into a new reality and rejoicing with all the other redeemed pilgrims who are walking the road to Jerusalem to be with Jesus.  Our Lord himself said,

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:9-10, NIV).

In this time of virtual presence and electronic communication, I take comfort in the reality that we do not need to text or email God and hope he answers – we have the joyous opportunity of walking the pilgrim way and crawling into the lap of God.

Just like everything else, what you put into something is going to affect what you get out of it. If we go into the Labyrinth half-hearted, we will leave half-hearted. If we go into prayer or worship thinking only of the obligation, we will only fulfill the obligation. Yet, if we come ready to meet God, if we come ready to receive his grace, if we come expectantly – Who knows what God can do?

So, let us enter prayer, reading of Scripture, virtual fellowship, and the worship of God each day with the heart of a pilgrim. Let us enter with a song on our lips and joy in our hearts. Let us enter knowing that worship is the place where we connect with the love of God through the Son of God. Let us enter expecting to come out of worship changed, carrying in our hearts the anticipation of great things to happen.