…suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them….and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Ezekiel 37:7,10

When someone dies, there is a set of rituals people typically go through to grieve the loss of a loved one. They are certainly different, depending upon your culture, your religion and your own personal needs. Generally speaking, though, they share more in common than they do differ.

You might travel a short or long distance to see your loved one either just before or soon after they die. You likely gather with family and friends to share memories and tell stories around enough food for an army. You probably make arrangements and plans with a funeral home or a place of worship or a cemetery to memorialize your loved one. You might be inundated with visitors to your home, who come to pay their respects, perhaps bringing by food or flowers in person. Finally, of course, you gather with your loved ones to mark that death with some kind of service, be it religious or otherwise. There is a kind of journey one takes in the lead up to, and after a death, which is typically marked by small rituals along the way.

Except, that is, when someone dies during a pandemic.

I had read about it, of course. When you write your doctoral thesis on funeral preaching, you come across all kinds of ways death has been ritualized at odd times or under unusual circumstances. I just never thought it would happen to me. But it did and it has. And I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss the “normal” rituals.

And yet…new ones have emerged. I spent the night after mom’s death zooming with my brother, going through old pictures, reminiscing on the past. Not many people have shown up at our door, but meals have through contactless delivery, along with flowers, and cards, and phone calls, and text messages. I even received a liturgy, from a colleague, for a personal service of remembrance, to be done in our home. We will gather with our immediate family, virtually, in a few nights, to light candles, read scripture, tell stories about Grammy, and pray a prayer of commital.

I may not have the old rituals, but new ones have found their way to comfort me. I may not have been able to hold her hand before or after she passed, but I have felt God’s arms wrapped around me through the many ways in which you and others have reached out during this time. Without those normal rituals, I was lost these last few weeks. Yet, somehow, God still found me.

And God finds you too, wherever you are and whatever you are going through during this time. Whether its loneliness or grief, worry or despair, sickness or suffering, God’s promise to us is that we are never alone. I realize it’s not the same – the old rituals may never again feel the same. Thanks be to God, that our God, takes dry bones and breathes new life into them.

Thank you, Sandy Springs Christian Church, for your love and support during this time. I look forward to being back with you in worship this Sunday.

Easter Sermon Series

Being Easter People in a Good Friday World

The apostles did not live during a pandemic. They did, however, fear for their lives every day. Despite the challenges they faced, they found ways to live and practice their faith. Today we are doing the same. During the Easter season, we will reflect on how to be Church, from the earliest Church, through the Acts of the Apostles. Resurrection may have come and gone, but the risen Christ’s body lives on through his followers, no matter the circumstances.

Sunday, April 26, 2020
Remember the Past
Acts 2:14a, 22-32
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown

Sunday, May 3, 2020
Live with Gratitude
Acts 2:42-47
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown

Sunday, May 10, 2020
Be Honest
Acts 7:55-60
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown

Sunday, May 17, 2020
Acts 17:22-31
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown

Sunday, May 24, 2020
Keep it Simple
Acts 1:6-14
Rev. Dr. Nathan C. Brown
John Robeck's mother, Eph Robeck, passed away April 14. She was 97 and lived in a memory care unit in San Antonio. John writes, "My mother lived a remarkable as well as a long life. She was part of "The Greatest Generation". Qualifying for the Federal Civil service with a high school education in Wilkes-Barre PA, she worked during WWII in Washington DC. 

Later she worked with the Atomic Energy Commission in Los Alamos, NM and in Richland, WA. She was one of the first civilian women to witness an early above ground nuclear weapons test in Yucca Flats, NV.

Despite suffering a stillbirth after her first pregnancy, she gave birth to me in 1954 in Cincinnati, OH. Two other sons followed in 1956 and 1959. One of my brothers, Paul, was born in Oak Ridge TN while my father, Gordon, was stationed there as a commissioned officer with the Public Health Service studying health effects of atomic weapons fuel fabrication. 

All together she worked 10 years as a secretary and assistant to Public Relations officers in the AEC. Her typing, proof reading and grammar skills where expert and she helped me get through high school and college by guiding and helping me. She even proofread and typed my Master's Thesis in 1979!

Raising three boys with my father was a trying and, at times, vexing, challenge for her. But she was always loving and faithful."
Robyn, Betsy, Jenna and Tanner celebrate Bob and Janelle Hicks' 52nd Wedding Anniversary this week. They write, "We are so thankful for their example of love and marriage and pray for many more happy years together!"
Shelton Blackburn asks for prayers for his sister-in-law, Tina, who received extensive damage to her home during the Chattanooga tornado. She is now in an apartment while waiting for them to repair her home. 
Pat Moore, Eleanor Wood's daughter wants to thank everyone for prayers for her mom. She also wanted to share that Eleanor is staying with her and wanted to let everyone know their address: 1418 Christmas Lane NE, Atlanta, GA 30329.
We pray for our SSCC family members who serve as first responders and SSCC's own serving in the military: Jamie Price Smith, Rachel Robeck, Michelle Brown, Tyler Brown, Derrick Brown, Kevin Mooney, Jared Mills and Dalton Brown. (If we are missing someone, please let us know so that we can include their name in our weekly prayers).

You can join SSCC by a simple affirmation of faith anytime! If you want to join during this virtual time, just let Pastor Nathan know and we will make that happen. He can announce it during the livestream on Sunday morning! Simply e-mail Pastor Nathan  to let him know you would like to join!
In honor of Earth Day yesterday, and being a  Green Chalice Church , we invite you to celebrate the  50th Anniversary   of Earth Day  by posting your family’s efforts to make sure life on Earth is sustainable.

The theme for Earth Day is Climate Action and relates to world peace. Mismanagement and allocation of world resources contribute to unrest and conflict, especially in countries and among people who are already hurting. Our commitment to being a Green Chalice Church is personal as well as corporate. Let’s help protect and restore our planet.

There are so many opportunities to Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle.

Please post comments or photos of you or your family cleaning up, planting plants, composting, recycling, or perhaps putting a check in the mail to support one of our many conservation organizations.

Bonus Challenge: Create a family art project with recycled goods. Take a picture and post. All Art submissions will receive a  Chick-Fil-A  gift card.

You can post in one or both places:
Post to SSCC Facebook CLICK HERE
Email for inclusion in SSCC Earth Day Photo Album CLICK HERE

Questions: Janis Hill, SSCC Care & Connect janishill@comcast.net
In the wake of Covid-19, Tim and Breijanna Dyke have offered to pick up groceries or run small errands for those among us who can't get out. If you need some assistance, but do not feel comfortable leaving your home, or would like to help Tim and Breijanna with this ministry, you may contact them at  breijney@gmail.com , 360-632-9455 or  tim.dyke@icloud.com , 513-615-4609.
Due to the fact that we are holding "virtual" church service, and are not able to submit prayer requests, please use the following emails and/or phone numbers to submit your requests:
SSCC has subscribed to zoom for anyone who might need it to virtually meet using a video conference method. Only one group can use our account at a time. If you would like your group to use zoom to virtually meet, please contact Amy Frost via em ail (amy@sandyspringscc.org) t o schedule your group on the calendar. We can help you learn how to send an invite to your group.
Sandy Springs Christian Church is helping an effort to assist local area families who are most vulnerable during this time. In partnership with Community Assistance Center (CAC) which is located in Sandy Springs and houses one of the largest Food Pantry programs in the Metro Atlanta area, we can help families and individuals who face financial hardships due to lost income and medical expenses.

CAC is in need of online cash donations to purchase food gift cards and most needed items not currently stocked in their pantry as well as funds to help with rent. Online donations reduce the number of human interactions as we all do our part to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. To donate to Sandy Springs Christian Church Relief Fund for CAC  CLICK HERE . For updates on volunteer opportunities and services visit CAC at  www.ourcac.org .

Food Pantry Needs:
Canned Meat, Tuna, Chicken, Beef Stew, Chili, Rice, Dried Beans, Canned Fruit, Cereal, Mixed Vegetables, Baking Mixes, Milk and Juice Boxes for kids and Plastic Bags.

You may bring donations to the CAC Food Pantry at 8607 Roswell Rd. Sandy Springs, GA 30350. Food Donation Times:
  • Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9:30 am – 1:30 pm
  • No Saturday hours.
Sandy Springs Christian Church has a long standing relationship with MUST Ministries.

Food donations (see list below) are very much needed and can be delivered in the following manners…
1. Drop off at the MUST Donation at 1280 Field Parkway in Marietta, 30066, Tuesday through Saturday, 9 to 5pm or
2. Drop off at MUST Cherokee at 111 Brown Industrial Parkway, Marietta.
3. Order food through Amazon and have it delivered to the addresses above.

Monetary donations are very much needed and can be delivered in two manners…
1. Online via their website, or for those who are reluctant to give online
2. Send a check in the mail to MUST Ministries, P.O. Box 1717, Marietta, GA 30061.

Please CLICK HERE o r on the picture to the right to access a flyer for more information and how you can help.
Stacie Brooks is offering free online yoga classes during this "shelter in place" time that we find ourselves in.

Here is the information:

Free daily 28-minute yoga stretch breaks via ZOOM meeting at 2:30 pm ET: Easy Wear/Where-you-are Yoga with Stacie from Atlanta Meeting ID: 224 932 681.
Camden Gibson    04/01
Suzanna Torbert   04/01
Austin Michels  04/02
Michael McCluskey  04/03
Caroline Filacchione 04/03
MacKenzie Michels  04/04
Nathan C. Brown   04/05
Emma McCluskey   04/05
Tanner Hicks    04/10
Leslie Kahrs    04/11
Betsy Robinson-Hicks 04/11
Michelle Leek    04/12
David McGahee   04/17
Terry Frost     04/20
Evan Bensch     04/21
Ryan Driemeyer   04/25
Carol Armstrong   04/25
Michaela Mason 04/27
Donovan Frost   04/29