He Is Risen! This is the great proclamation of our faith. It is what we are reminded of as we celebrate together on Easter Sunday. It is not, however, a proclamation merely for Easter. We are Easter people. We live each day with the news of Christ’s Resurrection ringing in our ears and flowing from our hearts. It shapes all of who we are, and how we conduct ourselves in the world. It is what continues to drive our work to make this world look more like the world Christ helped us glimpse through his ministry. It is what makes us yearn to draw closer to God. It is what inspires us to invite others to find the core of their beings in relationship with their Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer just as we have.
As we continue to celebrate the news of the empty tomb in the wake of the Easter celebration, I want to invite you to join us on Wednesday nights from April 11-May 16, as we return to a time of midweek fellowship and worship. If you are like me, you have missed our opportunities to gather in the Fellowship Hall to break bread with one another, share our lives and our prayer concerns, and to lift our hearts in prayer and worship. I am excited to again have a chance to gather, worship, learn, and pray with you outside of our weekly Sunday worship experiences, and I hope you will join us and invite others to join us as well.
These upcoming gatherings will be offered with the intent of bringing together all those who need a point of connection with God and the community of faith in the middle of our weeks that are so often full of stress and anxiety. We will begin with dinner in the Fellowship Hall at 5:30 p.m. Come when you are able with your family to share time around the tables with your church family. We will move to the Sanctuary at 6:15 p.m. for a time of evening worship and prayer. There will be opportunities to sing hymns and spiritual songs. We will read and reflect on the scriptures together. We will seek to engage in spiritual practices that we hope you will incorporate into your personal spiritual life in a way that continues to fuel your walk with Christ. There will even be times for us to pray for and support our ministry partners who are daily engaged in lifting up our neighbors and our community in Christ’s name.
While this time is geared primarily toward adults, there will also be separate opportunities for our children to gather, to play together, to learn, and to grow. We continue to feel called to minister to the needs of the entire family. The crucial need to model positive spiritual formation for the children in our midst only continues to grow.
Dr. Lisa J. Miller, author of, The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, points out that,
Our predominantly materialistic, 24/7 media-infused world is not set up for the introspective thought involved in spiritual reflection. We’re pressured to fill downtime with productive activity, and we often feel compelled to fill in any quiet moment with diversions. This is how we live and this is what we’re modeling for our children
She also states, however, that as humans created in God’s image we are, “hardwired for spiritual connection.”
Research shows that natural spirituality, if supported in childhood, prepares the adolescent for critical developmental tasks of that age. If supported in adolescence, natural spirituality deepens and can become a significant resource for health and healing through adult life.
This is something to keep in mind as we all continue to develop as Christ-followers.
During these Wednesday gatherings, our school age children will be able to learn spiritual practices of prayer, scripture reading, and mission service while their parents are doing the same. Their time will compliment the time of learning and worship for our adults in a way that will equip and empower families to share what they experienced throughout the week as they sit around the dinner table, or as they travel to school and their many extracurricular activities. Age-appropriate childcare will also be available for those who are four years of age and younger.
Finally, we hope that this additional time of worship and study will be a welcomed opportunity for all of those who are unable to gather with us at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. If you know of someone whose work schedule or responsibilities in caring for loved ones prevents them from worshipping at a traditional time, this will be a perfect time for them to experience the presence of God with our community in worship. Come. Invite your neighbors. Join with our congregation as we continue to grow together in the wake of the Easter celebration.
May the Risen Christ continue to bless you, your family, and the family of faith at Augusta Road Baptist Church.
Rev. W. Mattison King