Dear Dyersburg FUMC Family, 

Thank you so much to everyone who worshiped with us yesterday, drive-in style, for Palm Sunday! We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Dakota, David Wagner, Jonathan Ellingsworth, all of our parking lot attendants, and our offering bucket holders. Thank you for making and bringing palms!

I wish I had a picture of the diversity of palms that showed up in our parking lot yesterday—small, huge, real, paper, attached to the top of the car, attached to the rear-view mirror! It was truly a gift to be able to see you and your palms, even if it was through your windshield! This morning I give great thanks to God who gave his children creativity and energy, and the desire to brave something brand new for the chance to be able to gather as Christ’s body. It’s true that we are the church no matter where we are, but yesterday was a reminder to me of just how much our souls needed to be in the presence of each other’s bodies. During Advent 2020, when we start to reflect on how crucial it was for us that God took on human flesh to dwell among us, I hope we will remember how magnificent it was for us to see each other and worship together on Palm Sunday—how important it was for us to show up for each other in flesh and blood. And I pray that 100 years from now the story of how “they worshiped in the parking lot on Palm Sunday” will become one of the great stories of this congregation. 

One of the other thoughts I had this morning is that I need to start writing down the things that I want to remember from this time. Not just the things I learned but the things that surprised me and made me laugh. I’ll share a few with you. One was the joy of yesterday. I’ve never seen so many smiles on so many faces, and so much energy and creativity around palm branches! All of you and your palms and your smiles were glorious! Another is the number of pets that came to worship yesterday! You may not have been able to see Emily’s cat, Alice, worshiping with her. Betsy and Patti Lou brought Lemmy. Kay Curry brought Stella and the Fowlkes brought their pupper, too! In what other setting would we have been able to worship with our beloved pets! 

I hope that, if you haven’t already, you will start to write down the things that you want to remember from this time—things that have made you smile, things that you are learning, ways that God has surprised you. You will be able to look back later and be reminded that there was always light shining in the darkness, always hope where despair seemed to surround us on all sides. 

There are two things I hope you’ll remember for this week: First, be on the lookout for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday worship materials to come in an email from the church office. If you don’t have email, please call the church office and we’ll mail the materials to you. Second, we will be celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion together on Easter Sunday during parking lot worship. Because we will not be distributing the elements, we ask that you please bring your own elements with you—something to eat and something to drink—but please do not make a special trip to the store. Whatever you have on hand will be perfect. And we will try to livestream the service, so if you can’t make it and are watching the service at home, please celebrate Holy Communion with us wherever you are. 

As you spend time in prayer each day, please remember those among us who are sick and grieving, those who work in healthcare, and those who find themselves in despair and sadness during this time. Connect with your church family. Write a note. Color an egg and tape it to your neighbor’s front door. Create something beautiful and share it. God is with us. 

Grateful for all of you, Mary Beth