May 2020
From the Pastor

Psalms 27:1-3 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

JESUS CHRIST IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!  ALLELUIA!!  Oh, how I long to proclaim that to you in person and, yes, I know that day is right around the corner. So let me divert for just a moment.

Two hunters came across a bear so big that they dropped their rifles and ran for cover. One man climbed a tree while the other hid in a nearby cave. The bear was in no hurry to eat, so he sat down between the tree and the cave to reflect upon his good fortune. Suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the hunter in the cave came rushing out, almost ran into the waiting bear, hesitated, and then dashed back in again. The same thing happened a second time. When he emerged for the third time, his companion in the tree frantically called out, "Woody, are you crazy? Stay in the cave till he leaves!" "Can't," panted Woody, "there's another bear in there!"

Do you ever feel like fear is giving us the run around? Even though it appears that there is a light way down at the end of the tunnel, there are a lot of scary things going on in the world and perhaps even in our own personal lives.  God has not called us to live in fear. God has called us to stand strong in His confidence, knowing that He is in control! God has called us to live lives full of power, love and a sound mind!

I was googling for some quotes on faith and fear and came upon this quote from a Methodist missionary, Dr. E. Stanley Jones. He said “I am inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear is not my native land; faith is. I am so made that worry and anxiety are sand in the machinery of life; faith is the oil. I live better by faith and confidence than by fear, doubt, and anxiety. In anxiety and worry, my being is gasping for breath--these are not my native air. But in faith and confidence, I breathe freely--these are my native air.”  I LOVE this! I am pretty certain I will be using this in a future sermon. 

I am also drawn back to a quote that I put up on our marquee sign a couple of years ago. “Do not worry about tomorrow, God is already there” (Bunny Graham). The past weeks have been a perfect storm to live into the fear of all that we continue to hear in the news. Then to add to our fear, we are required to stay away and not enter the story of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection together. We are isolated and alone. Sounds a great deal like that first Easter.

The long Sabbath, the rest in the cold tomb . . . and now, in the darkness comes the first day of the week. The new week, the new creation, the eighth day. Eyes are red from weeping and sleepless Sabbath nights.  Women at the tomb, perhaps to bring more spices, perhaps just to be, because there was nowhere else to be, nothing else to do, nothing else that mattered, that would ever matter. Sounds familiar.

COVID-19 has been a long week of our passion; personally, as a community, as a nation and as a global population. We wait for the eighth day, for the tomb to open so that we can once again, just be. We have had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do  and we are realizing how much it has mattered:  That first Easter, this past Easter.

We no longer need to fear, the time will soon be upon us where we will proclaim the resurrection together once again! Remember, God is already there. So, tell the Good News of what God has done and what God continues to do! Let your light shine so that others might see God at work. Proclaim with confidence — Alleluia! Jesus Christ is risen! He is Risen indeed, ALLELUIA! 

Servants together,

Pr. Paul <><

p.s.  Did you know??  We will continue to hold Sunday worship (live-stream via Zoom) with a very small team and you can participate in that worship online until we are all able to gather together in worship.  As that time is coming closer, the council is considering ways to re-engage again in worship that is done in a safe environment to make sure we will all continue to remain healthy.

p.s.s. - Did you know that Luther said. . . . ???  “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.”