Dear Parish Family,
I continue to pray that all of you and your extended family are well and staying healthy during this unprecedented time!
We continue to "ride the roller-coaster" of "where this Coronavirus is going." Has it begun to "wind down?" Some are saying yes and some are saying no. And, is the economy "bouncing back?” Some would say yes and some would say no! Some small businesses and individuals have received their checks and some have not; and, if not, "are the checks coming?” And, "will my business survive?” Will I have a job if/when this is finished?
The Governor has just given an "Executive Order" that school will not resume in this current school year....so next school year will find some, if not many, "behind."
So many questions....mixed solutions....unclear direction. And, many on opposite sides of the fence on what we should be doing because of the balance of concern for people’s health, and yet the ability to pay their bills. It can be overwhelming! And, some are not sleeping as well; are anxious and worried; others are too carefree and are not being sensitive to others.
And yet, it has brought out the best in some people who are "going the extra mile" in caring for others, showing compassion, and even risking their own life and health to support those who are sick, maybe dying. Some have family members who are sick (whether it is the virus or not), and have needs. Our real heroes are the health care workers, first responders, and those who are working at places that need to stay open and function so that we might have our basic needs met.
I encourage you, first and foremost, that if you find yourself having extra time, pray!! Pray for those who are sick, who are caring for the sick, who are working so that we might function as a community, as a state, as a country. Pray for a vaccination, a treatment, a cure for this awful virus. Pray for those who are struggling and for those who will be. Pray for your family, friends, and those beyond your circle of those close to you. Pray for calm and peace amidst the anxiety, fear and turmoil.
Use your time as well as you can to reach out to family, friends, people that you know who are struggling physically, emotionally, economically, or in some other way. A phone call, an email, a letter...whatever you are comfortable with to communicate that you care.
I would encourage you to send the link to our worship services, www.stlukeshhi.org, so that people may find the Lord, people may grow closer to the Lord, people may be encouraged in His Spirit. Recommend our website on FaceBook, in an email, and maybe some may hear a message that they needed to hear. The Gospel, God's Holy Spirit, and God's people can touch lives through prayer and reaching out in ways that all the secular television and hopeful worldly messages cannot.
One other thought....don't let malaise set in so much that you let your spiritual, emotional, or physical health suffer. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, "social distance" or isolate with someone in a meaningful conversation. Pray with someone (on the phone!). Do a project that would make you feel a sense of accomplishment. I spoke with someone this week who moved right before all the Coronavirus impact began. He said that when he moved, he made a list of 67 projects around his new place that he wanted to do. He told me that he had 10 left to do. His wife commented that she had never seen him more productive around the house! Not all of us are that gifted, skilled, or inclined. But, take on a small project that will be a blessing to you, and to others, in the long run.
We do not know when we will return to being together in worship, in fellowship and small groups, able to go out with ease and without concern for our health and those that we "rub shoulders with." Life is not "normal" right now; and, there is a question whether we might be entering a "new normal" that we may not have grips on yet.
But, God! God is faithful; He is the source of grace, of strength, of peace, of joy, of love. We need an abundance of these gifts right now....all of us, individually, and as a community. He can be trusted with all that we are, and all that we have!
One final note: this week, our streamed worship will be a little different (if you saw last week, that was one way it could be different!). Steve Chisholm is facilitating a "Family Worship" service this Sunday. We will have every aspect of worship that we always have; just done slightly differently. It will be creative and fun (that is what I hear!).
Please stream with us this Sunday; and, as much as possible, be faithful to stay connected, involved, committed.
And, may the God of peace bring you all joy and peace in believing Him who is over all, Lord of all; and who loves us!
With love, in Christ,