Dear Parish Family,
As we continue through this unprecedented and difficult time, I wanted to write you to “stay in touch” as we are unable to “gather” as a Parish Family in worship, small groups, and meetings that are the “usual schedule” for many of us! Worship, fellowship, working together for the sake of the gospel are many of the “mainstays” that bless us and encourage us in our faith, in our daily walk and daily lives. Whether you are an extrovert or introvert, the reality is that social interaction and caring for one another together are a part of how God has made us. And, whether in a limited fashion or on a regular basis, we need to be sharing our lives with one another.
I had the joy and pleasure of meeting with one of our dear members last week, Gillian Spooner, and she had a wonderful idea that I want to share with you. Coincidentally enough, she said that she had heard Eric Metaxas earlier, and he had shared the same thought! Gillian suggested that everyone have “5 Friends” that they stay in touch with regularly, even daily, just to touch base and see how they are doing. That allows us to check on each other for health reasons, for needs, for fellowship. I think that this is brilliant! Even if your 5 includes family members “from afar,” they could always call the police should you be in dire condition or need. We need others; God has made us for personal relationships: first with Him, and then with each other. God is Trinity: one person “in community.” God made Adam, then Eve: “it is not good for man to be alone.” He encouraged them to procreate to provide more people for them and for others.
I heard today on the news that a young person had contracted the Coronavirus at a “Coronavirus Party.” That is not a helpful gathering! We need to keep the “6 feet rule” as much as possible! But “parties” that gather and have one or more people in them that have been at risk is not wise. Please be as careful as possible! We all need to get groceries; and, if you are a “high risk” person, call someone to pick them up for you; and/or, if you are able, hire a delivery service from the grocery store or call in and have them bring them to you in the parking lot. If you need to go to the pharmacy, go to the “pick up” window! If you need to get gas, wipe the handle! Whatever precautions you can take, do them!
Stay in touch through any means you can without putting yourself at risk:
I encourage you to phone friends and family. But, please use wisdom and discretion in social interaction. Many of you know that I love to play golf on my day off (Thursday); I am planning on playing Thursday this week, but being careful; not touching “the pin” as they suggest. Being out and about is part of my life; but, I will not, in the near future, be visiting people in their homes, care centers, or the hospital, where I could put others at risk. Please practice care as much as possible, which includes limited social interaction.
Please avoid being selfish:
I am going to share with you something that happened this week that broke my heart! We have a basketball pole and hoop in our church parking lot. For the past week, every morning, the children and students who have been playing in our parking lot have left litter, including bottles, strewn everywhere; and, this has happened near the playground near our preschool. Sad. Steve saw a group and asked them to be more considerate. Unfortunately, when Steve left, these students (probably out of school with time on their hands), jumped on the roof of the car of a woman from our church who has been in the hospital (probably out of spite). So sad!
Hording is also selfish! Please get what you need, and maybe a little extra; but please be considerate enough to leave supplies for others. Just because others are doing so, please don’t do as the hoarders do, but as our Lord would have us do!
Trust the Lord:
I encourage you to read encouraging words from Scripture: Psalms 23, 46, 91. The words we sang last Sunday as we streamed the worship: “Be not afraid”: see Isaiah 43:2. Pray I Thessalonians 5:16-18; and Philippians 4:4-7. Trust the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34; and Matthew 28:20b: “and, lo, I am with you always!” Trust the Lord that He is and will be with you. Seek Him through His Word, in prayer, and through the presence of the Holy Spirit, seeking to be filled daily to be strong and bear His fruit.
I also encourage you to “stream” the worship service. We had over 180 households stream the service this past Sunday! A great start! Our website has directions with how to stream the service. We had a few “glitches” this past week; but have been working on them, working out the problems to make the experience better for those at home this week! Also, if you don’t want to watch the entire service because you can’t “receive communion,” at least come online for the first part of the worship: the music, the Scripture readings, the sermon, the prayers. I want to thank Norm Galloway, Jordan Sturm, Nina Rodman and the Music Team, the Altar Guild, and the Sound Team who are working to provide what we are sending out through the air waves! Also, one last note on worship. Part of worship is giving! I realize that this is a very difficult and uncertain time, and some of you are struggling with the current economic state and uncertain future with our economy. Let me encourage you to give as you are able so that we can continue to function and keep our staff! Some of you may be able to give more! Now would be a time to do so. Some need to delay giving, and can catch up later. I understand! You can send your pledge or gift by “snail mail” or, you can give online through our website. Please pray about God’s call on your stewardship and life at this delicate time economically! Thank you!
Working on another mid-week message:
Norm has also ordered another piece of equipment so that I (and, at times Steve) can get a spoken message to you during the week. Eblasts are great and I appreciate the fact that I can communicate with you through this means. But, I like to speak more than write! So, stay tuned! And, thank you for reading this eblast!
Let us Pray:
Lord God, you are so good to us, so loving, so gracious! We thank you for the gift of your Son; the gift of your Holy Spirit, the gift of family and friends during this time. We thank you for our hospital workers, care center workers, and all those in the health care profession and public servants who are seeking to serve us during this difficult time. We thank you, too, for those who are continuing to work at grocery stores, gas stations, and utility companies to provide for our basic needs. And, we thank you for those who are reaching out and caring for others during a fearful and uncertain time. Lord, I pray that we would be thoughtful, caring, compassionate, unselfish, and wise during this time of National and International upheaval and uncertainty. Lord, send out your Holy Spirit to bring comfort, strength and peace. Infuse in people the need to be considerate and not selfish. Protect people who do not have the virus and comfort those who are walking with family and friends who have the virus. Comfort those who have lost loved ones due to this pandemic. And, bring us all to the other side of this time, all the while providing for our needs: spiritual, emotional, and physical. We thank you for your faithfulness in the past and for your trustworthiness for our future. We ask and pray all this in the strong Name of Jesus, your Son. Amen!
Love in Christ,