“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
I am Boyd Sossamon, I am originally from Sylva and grew up in Sylva FUMC and I am Lynda Sossamon. I grew up in Florida and but have been a part of Sylva FUMC since Boyd and I married.
We have always taken part in Holy Week by being involved in the musical aspects of the services. The spiritual discipline of committing to spend time learning music, practicing, and then raising your voices in praise, helps us grow in faith. Holy Week, to us, is the most Holy of all times in our Church, not only because of the music, but for the story it tells. If you just dwell on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, you think that Holy Week is just a happy time in the life of the Church, celebrating God and the renewal of the world with the coming of spring… But if you commit to attend the other services throughout this week, you find an entirely different meaning.
The services of Holy Week help us grow in faith. As the week moves from the celebratory feel of Palm Sunday (“The King is Coming”, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord”), the week grows dark. Maundy Thursday is the most solemn day in the life of the Church, the day that our Savior was betrayed. All aspects of the God we love are stripped from the Sanctuary – the Bible, the candles, the paraments, the Cross. The doors to the Sanctuary are barred. By attending this service, we can feel what our lives would be without God – full of hopelessness and despair. You leave the service in silence, contemplating what it took for God to make the sacrifice of his Son. (“What Wondrous Love is this?”)
And then comes Good Friday. What was started in the Manger in Bethlehem led to this – that God loved us so much that he sent his own Son to suffer and die on a Cross and to be buried for all our sins. (“When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Low in the Grave He Lay”). The service on this day is sad but gives us hope for tomorrow and it is not the end of the story.
Sunday comes and attending that early morning Sunrise Service is so moving as you anticipate and remember what happened centuries ago. Standing outside in the sometimes cold, misty, dark morning, you listen to the Easter story, and then as the sun comes up and you hear music (“Morning has Broken”), your heart is filled with peace and joy. Next comes Easter Sunday Service that culminates this Holy Week. It is a time to celebrate the fact that Christ is Risen! (“Easter People Raise your Voices”).
Each of these services remind us of what God has done for us. By attending and taking part in each aspect of Holy Week, our faith is renewed, and our love of God grows.
Holy Week invites us to journey with Jesus from his entrance into Jerusalem, to the last supper, to the cross, and to the empty tomb. Journey with us this year with these special opportunities:
- Palm Sunday (3/28) at 10am: Livestream worship including a special video of our children waving palm branches.
- Maundy Thursday (4/1) from 5-6pm: “Journey to the Cross,” a self-guided walk from the CLC parking lot into the Sanctuary. 12 stations will invite you to pause, read Scripture, and reflect on Jesus’ final days. Finish with communion and special music in the Sanctuary, where you may stay for as long as you like to quietly pray.
- Good Friday (4/2) at 12pm: We will join in worship with St. John’s Episcopal Church for an outdoor worship service (weather permitting).
- Easter Flower Cross (4/2) from 11am-1pm: Contribute your flowers for the flower cross. Our livestream worship will feature a cross full of flowers, and we want some from you! Deliver yours to the church office on Good Friday.
- Easter Sunrise (4/4) at 7am in Bridge Park: We’ll greet Easter morning in worship with our friends from First Baptist and First Presbyterian Churches.
- Easter Sunday (4/4) at 10am: Our livestream worship will feature a cross full of flowers, and we want some from you! Deliver yours to the church office on Good Friday (4/2) from 11am – 1pm.
Masks and social distancing required at all events.