Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I trust this note finds you well and adjusting to the new normal we’re all living in for the moment. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the barrage of information coming our way on this global crisis that ramps up fear and causes anxiety. In some ways it feeds a sense of helplessness and isolation. Perhaps you’re feeling a bit like the Psalmist in Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from?” In a troubling time, the Psalmist reflected on the actions of the culture around that sought help from mountain shrines where people implored whatever gods were popular in their time and place for help. The second phrase in the opening line expresses the Psalmist's question and should be read like this: “where does MY help come from?” Knowing that mountain shrines were useless, the Psalmist sought real help. The answer comes in the next line: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” The Psalm goes on to recount the various ways the people of God are assured of God’s care in every moment.
Adding this Psalm to your daily routine will remind you that nothing in this current situation escapes God’s notice, and that God is providing exactly what you need in this moment for life and well-being. God invites our trust at all times, but especially in challenging times for this is when our thoughts can be filled with anxiety with so much uncertainty swirling around us. In 2 Corinthians 10:5 Paul reminds us to “capture every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” Jesus promised peace to his followers—“My peace I give to you”—and this promise was given on the night when he was betrayed which set in motion the events that led to his crucifixion. Remembering that we are loved by God, and that God is with us in all of our moments leads us to trust in God’s power at work in us that overcomes all. God’s love overwhelms everything. God’s love is the current that energizes our life—this sustains us as nothing else can. As you consider what’s happening in this moment, and reflect on how it affects you, be honest with God about whatever is present in you—anxious thoughts, fear, despair, helplessness. God welcomes our honest reflection. But as you pour out your concerns, let Psalm 68:19 lead your thought: “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves…” Allow this to capture your thought and bring peace.
This Sunday will find our thoughts gathered around the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from death to life—it’s found in John 11 if you’d like to read ahead. We’re live-streaming the service at 10AM. You’ll find the link to the service on our webpage. When you click on the link, it will take you to our Facebook page, BUT you don’t need a Facebook account to access the service. Of course, because Facebook is a business it will ask you to create an account, but you don’t need to do so. Just click “not now” and go on to the service. If you catch the service later on, you’ll find it as you scroll down the page just a bit to “videos.” Again, you don’t need a Facebook account to retrieve this.
Our Family Ministries Director, Andrea Chaumont, is providing some great tips for family activities you can enjoy together. You’ll find these on the Children’s ministry link on our website. Our Youth Director, Kim Herbert, is meeting with youth via Zoom—you can find these opportunities on the youth ministry link. Sisterhood Bible study is also meeting via Zoom—again you’ll find links to this under women’s ministry. We’re also exploring opportunities for hosting a live coffee and chat during the week and we’re inviting small groups to meet via Zoom.
Our staff is still working and all of us can be reached through email. You can also leave a message on the office phone which is checked on a daily basis. We’re ready to provide assistance in whatever ways we can—as always—and we welcome the chance to reach out to you.
I love hearing how you are finding new ways to re-imagine church during these times! Though the world is changing around us, the one constant in this is God’s love for you and those around you. Listen to the whispers of God’s Spirit prompting you to reach out. A phone call, an email, a text can all say “I miss you and have been thinking about you!” A little encouragement goes a long way. I’m grateful for your faithfulness to these promptings. AND, as God whispers to you, share what you’re hearing with us so that we can support what God is prompting in you.
I miss you, and I’m looking forward to the time when we can gather again. In the meantime, be the people of Christ that you are! Continue to bless those around you as you can and be salt and light in an upside down world!