Independence Day is Saturday, so warmer weather should be on the horizon! That’s good news for folks in our neck of the woods as we wring ourselves out. We’ll spend some time around Galatians 5:13-16 in our service on Sunday if you want to read ahead and prepare. Paul wrote this in light of the church emerging newly in Galatia, and facing challenges from religious leaders who sought to mold the church’s practice and faith in ways that corresponded to their understanding without considering that perhaps God had something else in mind. I believe there are ways to understand the message of this text in light of our nation’s celebration of independence, so join in and let’s discover these together.
Monday will begin our church’s participation in a 21 Day Racial Justice Challenge. This is an initiative of our denomination, the PC(USA) to provide information and understanding of the challenges to racial harmony in our country and how we as Christ followers can make a difference for good in this issue. I’m inviting you to join in. You can access the Challenge materials on our website. There are daily activities beginning July 6. You will find the material interesting, challenging, sometimes painful, but also hopeful in the sense that we of all people know that nothing is impossible for our God. When we agree with God, not even the sky limits what God can do! The one thing God will not do is force or coerce anyone into God’s will and design. God will invite, God will compel, but God will not force. Since God has elected to work in partnership with humankind in divine initiatives, the only thing that will impede God’s work is when God’s partners opt out. It happens. And when that happens, the cycle of dysfunction, the trauma of sin’s abuse continues unabated. We don’t have to let that cycle continue—opt in, and see what God will do!
Let me switch gears for a moment and address the “when will the building reopen?” question. According to the guidance we receive from our presbytery, the soonest we would anticipate the building opening for use is when King County enters Phase 3 of the governor’s plan. We may have tired of the coronavirus, but it’s not tired of us. It’s still here, and recent spikes in cases warrant that we remain cautious and follow the health practices recommended by our public health officials: hand-washing, mask-wearing, physical distancing, and avoidance of large crowds in indoor spaces. This is part of Christ’s mandate to love your neighbor as yourself—by being cautious, we are looking out for the best interests of others. I know the frustration this brings, and the real hardship this is causing in many families. We don’t ignore or dismiss the challenge this presents. At the same time, we don’t want to unnecessarily imperil others for the sake of satisfying our own desires. Love sacrifices for the sake of the loved. We’ll post the latest information on this as we have it on our website. The data changes regularly, as do the mandates from officials. It’s impossible to predict when the building will reopen—even when it does, there will be changes to the way we gather. We’ll keep you in the loop as that time approaches. Continue to pray for grace during this time, and, please do let us know of your situation so that we can provide whatever assistance or support we’re able to offer to see you through this. I miss being with you!
A quick reminder: we’ll be sharing in the Lord’s Supper together during the service this Sunday, so please have the elements on hand in your household for that time. And, if you’d like to continue the conversation of the message or other pieces of our time together on Sunday, join in Afterword, at 11:15AM on Zoom. Details on the website.