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Many therefore, who had come with Mary (and Martha) and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.   John 11:45

Last week’s gospel lesson from John is one of my favorites, the raising of Lazarus.  It is so moving, so timely.  Mary and Martha’s emotions are raw; their anxiety high.  Their request for Jesus’ return to prevent the death of a loved one is urgent.  Their cries and grief are palpable.  However, Jesus seems to take his time getting back to them and teaches them an important lesson in waiting and faith.  He brings new life from the tomb.  What an amazing story to help prepare us for the Resurrection and to guide us through this time of anxiety, fear, uncertainty, impatience and grief associated with the coronavirus.  We will rise again.

This pandemic has shaken up the whole world.  Many institutions, including churches, have been shut down.  We are regularly reminded to practice social distancing; stay at home—which actually feels more like social isolation. Of course, we want to “flatten the curve”, stay alive and prevent more deaths from this virus.  Like many, we find ourselves feeling like Martha and Mary.  And Jesus reminds us again and again, “BELIEVE and see the Glory of God.”

What a critical time for the church to be the church (not made by human hands).  I am so proud of St. Martin’s for checking in with each other and creatively maintaining our corporate prayers, our gathering, our worship through technology.  Two weeks ago I’d never heard of ZOOM, now it’s become an important way for us to be together as a church, even as we respectfully practice distancing from each other.  We are still close.

We are still gathering!  Please join us this Holy Week online.  Just click on the link Lisa, our administrator, sends to your email address from your smart phone or PC.  If you do not receive an email for the event, contact Lisa at (scoflo6@gmail.com) for a “Zoom” invitation to be with us…it is not difficult at all.

Our Holy Week online schedule is:

  • Bible Study, Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 6 pm (we’re in the Gospel of Matthew, chps 20-22)
  • Holy Thursday, April 9, 2020, 7pm
  • Good Friday, April 10, 2020, 7pm – an evening with Al Stinson, special friend of St. Martin’s and a supervisor with Youth Guidance’s “Becoming A Man” mentor program
  • Resurrection Sunday, Sunday April 12, 2020, 10 am

Easter is the center of our lives as communities of faith.  Christ’s death and resurrection are the cornerstone of our faith.  As this deadly coronavirus continues to hover over us, we strongly need the reminder Easter brings—new life can emerge, even in this tragedy.

I’m convinced that we, the church, are also “essential” members in times like these to encourage one another to hold on, believe, new life is coming, God is in our midst.  Or, as Ezekiel reminds us in the Hebrew Bible passage from last week, “The LORD has spoken, and will act.” (Ezekiel 37:14).

What a unique opportunity we have before us to re-imagine what it means to be the church and we must be ready, on board, and online.  We need your support.  I appeal to you to believe in God, believe in us, and make a spiritual / financial commitment to collaborate with St. Martin’s. Please consider blessing us with a financial gift or pledge for Easter.  Donations may be submitted through personal check, money order or cashier’s check, made out to:

St. Martin’s Episcopal Church / 5700 W. Midway Park / Chicago IL 60644.

Donations may also be submitted online via Tithe.ly or PayPal.com

Help us move forward through this time of crisis to create opportunities for more people to experience the new life and love of the Resurrected Jesus and believe in him.


In Christ,

Fr. Christopher Griffin