Written by Judy Hill, Christ the King Global Mission Team
Sunday, April 26th, was scheduled to be Christ the King's Global Mission Sunday. Plans were in place for an informative and heart-warming service highlighting CtK's global mission work in Tanzania and our continued commitment to God’s people throughout the world. Instead, we will be worshipping remotely in our own homes, virtually reaching out to our friends from Christ the King, and thinking of our companion congregation, Nduli Parish, Iringa Diocese, Tanzania.
The Global Mission Team is currently exploring other options for a Global Mission Sunday later in 2020. Meanwhile, we continue our commitments in Tanzania. One commitment is to grow in faith as we and our companions learn from one another how to give from the heart, worship joyfully, dedicate our lives to God, and pray for one another.
Another major commitment is to support education for Tanzanian students. We do this through secondary school, nursing school, and university scholarships. Our financial gifts for scholarships change lives not just for Tanzanian students but for their families, too. The need for scholarships is ongoing, and the students are so grateful for our generosity. We hope that you will continue to make contributions now or any time in the next several months so that these students can continue their educations. We thank you for your contributions and memorials; your gifts are changing lives. (Checks may be payable to CtK Global Mission with TZ Scholarships written in the memo line.)
Our companions in Tanzania are facing some of the same challenges as we are – public gatherings prohibited, schools closed, people living in fear of the COVID-19 pandemic. An Easter note from Nduli says that they want us to know that they are praying for us at this time and that they are grateful for our ongoing relationship with them. Please keep our Tanzanian friends in your thoughts and prayers, too.
Your Global Mission Team appreciates the faithful support so many of you continue to give to our partners in faith. Asante Sana! (Thank you!)
Written by Diane E. Shallue, Christ the King Caring for Creation Member
Last Wednesday was the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. As people of faith we believe that God created the earth and its wonderful diversity of life forms. Nature provides us with oxygen, pollinates crops, produces our food and regulates our weather patterns. Keeping nature diverse and flourishing supports human life yet human activity has altered almost 75 per cent of the earth’s surface.
God cares for animals, humans and all of the earth. Psalm 35:6 says, “Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgements are like the great deep: you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.” As Easter people, we know that God saves and brings new life. In Revelation 21:5, the one who was seated on the throne said, “See I am making all things new.” Can God renew the earth? Does God want us to help with this task?
With the reduction in transportation activities during the Covid-19 lock downs, the atmosphere has cleared in remarkable ways. Scott Collis, an atmospheric scientist at Argonne National Laboratory, said satellite imagery and other atmospheric monitors are already showing a dramatic reduction in pollution. “Over China there was a 50% reduction in things like nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide due to the shutting down of heavy industries and factories,” he said. The decline in air travel is also reducing pollution.
It is amazing how quickly the atmosphere has improved. It seems that we humans have a profound effect on our environment. Better air quality is good for all of creation. Yet some aspects of the “Stay at Home” orders are creating more pollution in other ways. People are using more disposable plastic bags, on-line ordering produces more packaging waste, and take-out meals use throw-away containers. In what ways can we be stewards and work with God to care for the earth?
Although we can see the resiliency of the atmosphere, earth care remains a challenge for all of us. The Caring for Creation Team at CTK has been working to encourage recycling, reduce energy use, improve water quality, and create pollinator friendly environments. Please join the movement to renew the earth in whatever ways you can.
Written by KC Gubrud, Director of Operations
Once upon a long-ago Easter, I heard a sermon whose central theme was that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. At the time, it was a good, solid Easter message. I would have given it a B+. But in today’s strange world, those prophetic words have changed the way I approach each day.
Friends, April 2020 is definitely a Good Friday world. We have pestilence in our world. We are physically isolated. We fear for our families, for our neighbors and for ourselves. And yet, we are Easter people.
I’ve been looking for Easter hope in this Good Friday world and I’ve found it. Once I started looking, I see it everywhere. Here’s where I’ve found my Easter hope:
Written by Pastor Sarah Henrich
Years ago someone put a wonderful book by Christine Valters Paintner in my hands. Called The Soul of a Pilgrim, Paintner’s book has eight chapters, each one about a practice for the inner pilgrimage of discovery. She begins with “The Practice of Hearing the Call and Responding,” a kind of listening and response that requires close attention and honesty about how we might hear God’s voice in our lives.
When Pastor Peter asked me to step in to help during his sabbatical, I was excited to say yes. After meeting and talking with Pastor John and others on the staff at Christ the King, I looked forward to serving with them, getting to know you all, and being together as we journeyed through Lent to Easter, winter into spring. But none of us anticipated having the corona virus with us as companion on this journey: it has changed so much about our lives, our hopes and expectations. Not being able to be together has diminished our opportunities to worship and learn together, to enjoy each other’s company, and even to care for one another in the ways we have so long done that.
My call has changed and so must my response. Christ the King is blessed with a wonderful group of leaders of every kind. They are dedicated to imagining how to be church in this different world, how to care for all the congregation, the neighborhood, and for one another. I am not needed for the kinds of pastoral work we had imagined.
Even as Jesus’ disciples could not have foreseen how their callings would change after Easter, even as they walked together into a world where God had brought God’s beloved son back to life and death had lost its ultimate power, so we keep walking into worlds that surprise us and challenge us. Painter’s book has another chapter I really cherish. It is, The Practice of Embracing the Unknown. It does take practice not merely to accept, but to embrace the unknown, doesn’t it? Yet, that is exactly what we are all called to do, not just in this strange season of separation, but as we follow a living God whose ways are not
simply our own.
I offer blessings and prayers for you as you continue your journey and continue to discern where our risen and living Lord is calling you to be his body in and for a changing world.
Written By Pastor John, Associate Pastor
Grace and peace to you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Today we begin Holy Week, a
sacred time that Christians mark every year to tell again the central mystery of our faith: the
death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a worshipful time of celebration, contemplation, and
dwelling deeply with God and the entire Christian church around the globe.
Of course, I don’t need to say why this year will feel different than the others. We will journey
through this most holy time in isolation from one another, without any of the festive worship,
candles, Passion drama, and hymns sung together. “Holy Week this year will feel strange,” we
say. “It just won’t be the same.” And this is true.
But if we listen to the Passion narrative with our COVID-19 ears, we may find that there is space
in this sacred story for even the pandemic nightmare we are currently living. Today, Palm
Sunday, we communally ritualize the abrupt shift from a large, joyful crowd to a small group
huddled behind closed doors to total solitude. Sound familiar?
Blood money exchanged in secret. A meal shared in an upper room. Jesus praying at a distance
from others in the garden. Peter watching from a distance as Jesus is questioned in the home of
Caiaphas. Jesus mocked, abused, and crucified – alone, as others watch from a distance. Two
bandits crucified on either side (I imagine them spread at least six feet apart). And finally, a lone
body is placed inside a secure tomb, and the door is sealed shut.
Holy Week will feel different this year. But perhaps, this year, we will be opened to wrestling
with this mystery in a different way, a way that is much closer to how the first disciples of Jesus
experienced Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter morning. They were afraid. They were
unsure of their future. They were devastated. Sound familiar?
Church, may we enter into this time fully, with all of our human fears and frailty and hopes and
concerns. Jesus is with us.