Dear Resurrection Family,
This has been a week unlike any of us have ever experienced. I know many of you are worried about loved ones, are trying to navigate working from home with children out of school, or are anxious about finances and the future. Our world has been turned upside down.
When it all begins to overwhelm you, can I offer a suggestion? Pause, take a breath (literally, take a deep breath) and pray this simple prayer: “Thank you, God. I know that you are here, that you love me and that you will not let me go.”
We’re going to make it through these uncertain times. I have an old suitcase in my home office that belonged to my grandfather. It’s filled with the front pages of the Kansas City Times and Kansas City Star from the 1930’s and 1940’s – I’ll show it to you in my sermon this weekend.
My grandpa saved these newspapers as a reminder of the remarkable things he and his generation, the Greatest Generation, lived through. We are not facing the Great Depression and years of unemployment. Most experts predict the economy will roar back in the fourth quarter. We’re not taking up arms to fight tyranny overseas – we're fighting a virus by staying home to help protect our older and more vulnerable populations. The conditions under which we’re fighting this virus are very different from of the 1918-1919 "Spanish" Flu to which it is being compared.
We’ll make it through this together, helping one another, supporting one another, each doing our parts. I’ll share stories of what that looks like in my sermon this weekend – I’ve already heard some beautiful examples of this! We’ll make it through this with courage and hope as we trust in the One who said, “Don’t be afraid, I am with you.” Adversity and challenges bring us together; they bring out the best in us and lead us to a deeper trust in God, and for that I’m grateful.
It will be hard, particularly for many small businesses and people who work for businesses that will be closed for a time. It is frightening, particularly for those working on the front lines in the medical fields as caregivers and for those upon whom others depend on for services. We’re all going to have to help each other, but we will make it through this time.
I want to encourage you to be in worship this weekend, but to do that, once again, online. We will not hold in-person live worship for the congregation until it is deemed safe to do so. Last weekend’s service was beautiful. The music was led by the worship leaders from all of our campuses and included modern and traditional music. It was deeply meaningful last week, and it will be again this week. It was awesome to have our entire congregation sharing together in worship led by people from all of our campuses.
Some have expressed concerns about having all of our campus pastors and worship leaders together. What if any became ill and then our entire team of worship leaders became ill? This is a valid concern. We are taking the same important precautions we want everyone to take, which is to spread our worship team out and being sure – even during set-up and rehearsal – that they are maintaining a safe distance from one another. Of course, if anyone on our team has any symptoms, we’re requiring them to stay home. Additionally, we have a broader staff of worship leaders and pastors at all of our campuses than can lead at any service, so we’ll also have opportunity for rotation as needed. Even in our planning and leading of worship online, we are taking the precautions I encourage us all to take as we all work together to flatten the curve of COVID-19.
I came down with a head cold this week and though I’m 95% recovered, I will not be coming in to preach. Instead, while the rest of the service will come to you from the Leawood sanctuary, I’ll be preaching the sermon from my kitchen table. LaVon will be running the cameras (with guidance from Sandy Thailing, a member of our video team).
This seemed an appropriate place to preach from as we continue our series on Breaking Bread with Jesus, particularly as we focus on the story of Mary and Martha inviting Jesus to their home for supper. This story seems amazingly appropriate for this weekend. Mary and Martha invited Jesus to supper. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet calmly listening to the Master, while Martha anxiously worked away in the kitchen, becoming more and more frustrated with her sister. By the time we’re finished with the sermon we’ll have learned important lessons from both Mary and Martha – as well as from Kevin Timmons of Nick and Jake’s restaurant, from a waitress at Denny’s, and from a few others as we hear what God would say to us through this meal Jesus ate at the home of these two sisters. Don’t miss this.
Last weekend, our first weekend ever to only be online, we had over 25,600 people join us for worship. That’s double the number of people who usually worship with us on an average weekend, and almost the number we usually have on Easter. Many were people whose churches were closed and do not offer online worship. Many others were people who felt for the first time, perhaps in a long time, that they needed to be in church. And we had a great turnout from Resurrection members and visitors.
You likely have friends who are anxious for whom our services would be a source of comfort and strength. Why not invite your circle friend to join you this weekend online?
One of the critical needs we have as human beings is for community. Church is one of the most important communities we have after our nuclear family.
So how do we stay connected when we are maintaining “social distancing”? We have to be really intentional about connecting. Please be aware of your friends, neighbors, family members or those you normally sit by in church, and be intentional about reaching out to them. Send an email, text them, or pick up the phone and make a call!
Here are a few ways you can continue to stay connected with the church:
Although we have had to postpone some projects and events that involve large groups, we are continuing to find ways to serve those in need in our community.
We have set up a “Missions” fund online where you can contribute to helping meet community needs. The church will use the donations to provide a variety of resources in real time where most needed. For example, funds could help us provide:
I am so proud of the way our congregation continues to step up embody Christ’s love throughout our community. Here are just a few of the ways you have served this week:
You can learn about opportunities to serve on our website: cor.org/serve.
At Resurrection, our lead team is meeting by video chat each morning as we evaluate and make plans to continue ministry in this ever-changing environment. We are working to keep the health and safety of our congregation, staff and community as a priority. As decisions are made, we are updating a document at cor.org/coronavirus. There is also a link at the bottom where you can submit a question. Here’s a quick summary of some of the actions we have taken to date:
With all the emphasis on hand washing, some of you shared with me that in the 20 seconds it takes to wash your hands well you can say the Lord’s Prayer. You were right and I began doing that this week. Then I began to branch out and simply pray, using the form of prayer I taught you in The Walk – five elements for each of the five fingers on your hand: praise, thanksgiving, confession, requests and yielding your life to God. Try a different one each time you wash your hands.
And, as you hopefully have a little extra time on your hands, don’t forget we’re reading the Gospel of Luke together through Lent. As a congregation, we’re on Luke chapter 9 today – if you haven’t started, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up. Let’s read Luke together as a congregation!
Your financial support makes possible the ministry of our church in Kansas City and beyond, and while that ministry is shifting to using technology during this pandemic, the ministry still continues.
Our pastors are calling and using tools like Facetime to connect with people we are not allowed to visit in the hospitals. This week we’ll be mobilizing for a church-wide calling campaign to check on all of our members by phone. Our children and youth ministry staff are using technology to stay connected with your kids and students, as are all of our other ministries. And we’re engaging in giving support to people who have lost jobs or who may otherwise struggle during this time.
Without passing the offering plate each weekend, we anticipate a reduction in giving and we know some who have been laid off have already had to reduce their pledges until they are re-employed.
For those who are fortunate to continue to have a steady income during this time, we need your help. We’re looking at everything we can do on our end to reduce expenses through the next couple of months, but know how grateful we are to all of you who are regular givers and who either give electronically, using your phone, or by mail. If you would like to sign up for online giving click here. If you are mailing your offerings you can send them to:
Church of the Resurrection
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
Again, thank you for your faithfulness!
See you in worship (online!) this weekend!
13720 Roe Ave.
Leawood, KS 66224
24000 W. Valley Pkwy
Olathe, KS 66061
1601 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
601 NE Jefferson St.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
8412 W. 95th St.
Overland Park, KS 66212
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