Caring Connections for April 8, 2020

Caring Connections for April 8, 2020

April 08, 2020

Reach Out During Holy Week from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.

Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for April 8, 2020

To my brothers and sisters in Christ in Iowa and beyond, grace and peace during the Holy Week. I’d like to share a scripture with you from John chapter 13, which took place as Jesus and his disciples were eating a last supper together on the Thursday before he was crucified.
John 13:4-9 (CEB)
So Jesus got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.” “No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.” Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!” Thanks be to God!
  • In Jesus’ day people everyone wore sandals, so the first thing that was done before entering a house was the washing of feet. The host provided water, and the servants washed the feet.
  • But on this night Jesus did something scandalous. During supper, he took off his outer robe and tied a towel around himself. Then Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and wiped them with the towel. 
  • But when Jesus came to Peter, he said, “Lord are you going to wash my feet? No, never!” “Peter, you do not know what you are saying,” Jesus replied. “Unless I wash you, you won’t be with me.” And Peter said, “Lord, then wash my feet and my hands and my head and all of me.”
  • “Do you know what I have done to you?” Jesus asked. “If I your Lord have washed your feet, then so you ought to wash one another’s feet.”
  • Right now, neither can you nor I can literally wash the feet of another person because we are required to stay six feet away from each other. But what we can do right now is creatively and faithfully reach out to our communities in love, hope, and faith. 
As we move through Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, how can you be a servant to someone else? Who needs to hear from you on Maundy Thursday that this is the day when Jesus gave us the new commandment to love one another? Who needs to hear from you on Good Friday that Jesus forgave his accusers? And who needs to hear from you the words, “He is risen!” on Easter Sunday? 

The stories of your faith and courage in the midst of COVID-19 continue to be inspiring.

Dawn Butler is the pastor at Keokuk Sandusky and Keokuk Melrose in the Southeast District. A week and a half ago, Dawn got in her car and drove from 9 am to 6 pm (111 miles) and went to the homes of 33 of her church families. She called them when she was in their driveway, and they either came to the window, or went out on their porches or decks. From a distance, they laughed, they cried, and they prayed together as the family of God. 

A few weeks ago, Rev. Terry Pollard from Colfax UMC in the Central District became aware of twelve families in the school district who received weekend food backpacks. Because schools have been closed, only lunch was being provided now, so church members decided to partner with the church across the street. Despite the fear that asking for money might cause a drop-off in regular financial giving, the congregation has actually raised hundreds of extra dollars to feed people in need.

One thing that is very difficult now is planning funerals and ministering to people in hospice and those with terminal illnesses. Kris May, a local pastor at Viola UMC in the East Central District, did something beautiful for an elderly man in her congregation by writing out his entire funeral service and sending it to him before he died. He had no family, so his church became his family. 

Finally, during a recent Sunday at Carroll UMC in Southwest District, pastor Suzi Olberding included a video of CJ, a special needs child who provided special music. CJ was able to put the notes into an instrument that makes the music for him. This would not have happened in their “normal” worship. The congregation was blessed, as all of God’s children gave thanks for CJ and his gifts. 

If you have stories to share about how God is at work here in Iowa during this time of COVID-19, I encourage you to email them to iaumccares@iaumc.orgMay the crucified Christ and the Risen Savior live within you today and always.
Jesus, keep me near the Cross;
There a precious fountain,
Free to all -- a healing stream --
Flows from Calvary's mountain.
In the cross, in the cross,
Be my glory ever,
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.