April 8, 2020

Dear CrossWay Family,

What an important and very special week this is! Every year, for 2,000 years now, Christians have come to this week with their minds and hearts focused on remembering the death of Jesus and then, three days later, joyfully celebrating his resurrection. It truly is a special, “holy” week, set aside for dedicated attention to our Risen Lord. And here we are, unable to gather to celebrate this most important and wonderful reality. So strong is the tradition of gathering that several state officials requested earlier this week that Governor Evers temporarily suspend his orders and allow churches to gather in person for this weekend. The Governor denied that request. I believe that was the right decision. As much as we might wish it was different, church gatherings are not exempt from the realities of infection and we want to continue to do our part to help protect the health of people all around us. But, O, how we will miss being together this Sunday!

However, we have planned some other ways for us to connect as a church family. I have already found myself so thankful for the prayer guide that several of our pastors worked on together to provide some direction for us this week. That is serving my own family as we spend some time together after the evening meal reading the appointed Psalm and praying along the suggested lines. That is preparing our hearts for Good Friday.

For Friday itself, we are encouraging our entire church family to engage in some form of fasting in preparation for an evening opportunity to pray together. Why fast? Well, simply put, fasting is a way to acknowledge our weakness and our dependence on God and to look to him for help and support. It is a means by which we can strengthen and sharpen our trust in God. At one point some of John the Baptist’s disciples came to Jesus and asked him, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” Jesus answered, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast” (Mark 9:14-15). We are in those “days”. Ever since Jesus returned to heaven and until he returns for us we will be in a place of walking by faith that will require purposefulness about cultivating our reliance on him. Fasting helps us do that, and there are certain times that particularly call for fasting. We see God’s people fasting in the Bible in times of repentance, in times of sorrow, in times of need, in times of bewilderment, and in times of trial and temptation. In all these times we fast to show our need for and our longing for God.  

So, we as your pastors and elders are calling us as a church to purpose to fast on Friday. We would recommend that you choose to skip some meal on that day and spend that time in prayer, either alone or with someone else in your house. Have some simple plan for how you will spend that time. If there is a medical reason for you to not fast from food simply spend some focused time in prayer at some point in the day.

Then, in the evening we would encourage you to join together as we have our Good Friday service online. Jared Compton will lead us in a meditation on the death of Christ and then lead us through a time of praying. The service will last an hour. You can watch the Good Friday service online here. The service will start at 7:00 p.m.

Then, for Sunday, let me encourage you to once again tune in to a time of Easter greetings, worship, and time in the Word via video available through the church website. Aim for 10:00 Sunday morning and think of your brothers and sisters in Christ who are missing you as you are missing them. But, even though we will be apart, we are still a church, worshipping our Risen Lord.

One last note. Next week we intend to share in this mid-week letter some of the ways that our church family has been able to reach out in love to others during this time of social distancing. We have heard many great stories of people doing good to others but, of course, we wonder “Are there things happening that we’re not seeing?” If you are aware of some specific act of someone doing good to others, either within our church, or in the community, please share that in a brief email and send it to mari.werth@cwc.church

May the Lord bless you CrossWay. I regularly find myself thinking, “You know, I haven’t seen so-and-so for a little while” and then I’m reminded of the reason for that. I can’t wait to see you all again.

With much love,

Pastor Mike (for all the pastors and elders)              

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