Dear Church family,
Grace and peace. Well, whoever declared that responding to the Coronavirus would be a fluid and evolutionary experience has never spoken anything more true or accurate. There are so many changing dynamics. By the way, I know “this present distress” is surfacing many questions. Please feel free to send those questions to AskthePastor@briarwood.org and we will attempt to answer them on either the Sunday evening 6:00 pm program (Temporarily replacing the Sunday night service) “Conversations on this Present Distress with Harry and Bruce” or I will attempt to answer them on the 10 minute daily podcast “Today in Perspective.”
I know one of your questions. What about the special week in the life and ministry of Briarwood for worship, fellowship and outreach – Holy Week? We are going to maintain our Holy Week schedule in conformity to governmental guidelines and make it available through streaming. By the time you receive this letter you will have either already or will soon receive this week’s Briarwood Weekly by mail or email. In it you will find the Worship Guides for Palm Sunday and also Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. Please save them or print them out for preparation and participation.
Now something very important. By Sessional direction the Communion element of Maundy Thursday is being postponed for two reasons. First, to maintain compliance with the governmental guidelines for safety purposes. Second is theological. Suffice it to say the Biblical and faithful administration of the Lord’s Supper cannot be done by “virtual communion” or “private administration.” The Scriptures are abundantly and repetitively clear that the sacraments of the Church especially the Lord’s Supper are to be observed, implemented and celebrated “when you come together” for a Divine service of gathered worship. Having said that, this service will focus on the events of Holy Week leading up to Maundy Thursday. In addition, we will display the Biblical Passover Supper with explanation of how the Lord fulfilled this last Passover and established the first Lord’s Supper in anticipation of the Lamb’s Supper in Revelation 19. Therefore, this service will be helpful for our preparation as we anticipate the celebrating the Lord’s Supper when we are again able to “come together” for gathered worship with one another.
The Worship Guides for the Easter Sunrise Service and the Lord’s Day Resurrection Celebration Services of Divine Worship at 8:00 and 10:55 am through live streaming will arrive at your home in this week’s Briarwood Weekly. We are exploring opportunities to make this a special season of celebration. Praise the Lord for the resurrection of our Savior affirming His victory over all of His and our enemies “to save us from our sins” by His atoning death and resurrection.
Thank you for your patience and assistance as we continue to make every effort to shepherd all of the flock. If there is any need we are not yet aware of or if you have a desire to contact us, please do not hesitate to call or email. The Reception Desk continues to be open during normal hours. Our Church phone number is 205.776.5200.
Thank you for your prayers, perseverance and patience manifested through the many ways you are reaching out to one another and our surrounding community. I recently received two full pages outlining some of the things being done by so many of you which obviously I cannot list in this Pastoral letter. But please know they are enrolled in the annals of Praise to our great God as testimony to your love for Him, His people and the lost. To quote the apostle Paul “Your labor of love, steadfastness of hope and work of faith is not in vain”.
Serving together under the Sovereign hand of God’s Providence,