Dear friends and members of RLC,
How are you?!? Each day I pray for your well-being, for your comfort and strength. I never imagined days such as these! I most definitely did NOT have a class on this at the seminary! Yet here we are—learning new ways of connecting, of worshiping and of serving. Thanks for your patience with me as I have recorded worship services for us to use on our church website. Many thanks to Linda for selecting such inspiring music and to Jess for all of the daily prayer connections.
Beginning on June 7, we will move to a somewhat different worship format. We will record our services in the church sanctuary. Linda will play the piano and I will lead the spoken parts of our liturgy. We will also be sharing Holy Communion, so you are invited, before you view the service, to have bread and wine before you. Also, earlier in the week, a worship supplement will be e-mailed to all of you with the words to the hymns so that you can sing along, as well as any other parts of the service for which you need the words to participate. We hope this more interactive format will allow you to engage even more fully in worship each week and to experience the connection which is ours in Christ. As we lead worship from our space, it is hoped that those dear and familiar symbols of our faith will be comforting and inspiring. I know that we long for the day when we can be safely present with each other in person. Remember, we are closer now than when we began!
Our church council is also considering other ideas for fellowship: stay tuned for updates!
I also want to share a couple of updates on our partners. Lutheran Special School has changed its name to Journey Lutheran School. It has a beautiful new symbol with the cross at the center. It is a visible embodiment of their mission to accompany children and their families on their life journeys, realizing the potential in each child of God. Continue to pray for them.
Also, Divine Intervention Ministries has begun a new food ministry where 300 meals are given out each Saturday afternoon to those who are hungry. The meals are prepared by a local restaurant so they are being sustained as well as the hungry. Continue to pray for them.
Our partners in Tanzania face many challenges due to the coronavirus, the weather, and a corrupt government. The children are still home from school and the number of people becoming infected with covid-19 rises. Pray for these partners.
And please, continue to reach out to care for one another in whatever ways you are able. I heard that our group who have been making face-masks has now made and delivered over 1000 masks! Well-done! I hope to continue to hear your stories of the ways that you are making a difference. They don't need to be “big” things: sometimes a well-timed note or phone call makes all the difference!
My friends, look for the good in each person: be quick to complement and slow to criticize. What we feed will grow stronger. Remember as we move to more regularly sharing the sacrament of Holy Communion together, that what unites us is far greater than anything that divides us.
May the peace of the Lord be with you always,
Dear friends and members of Resurrection,
I believe this is the time for our individual and collective hope and imagination! We have been living through the waiting time: the time for staying safely at home and being physically distanced. Something new is coming: what exactly it will be, is yet to be determined.
What seems clear, is that it will not be a return to the old ways. We will need to patiently and creatively live into our new future. This will call on each of us to try new things, to be open to changing long held practices and dream new possibilities.
I invite each of you to deliberately write down what you have learned during these weeks of intentional separation. What have you observed that has encouraged you? What have you most missed? What do you hope will last when we are able to gather together again?
How have you experienced God's presence? What has strengthened your faith? What goodness have you experienced in your life?
When we are able to gather back together, I hope to hold “listening circles” where we share our experiences and insights with one another. We do not want to lose what we have learned during this extraordinary time.
This is a time that has reminded us that we are one world of fragile, vulnerable human beings. But also that we are beings created in the image of God with great possibility for courage and self-sacrifice. Differences that used to seem so significant have been like smoke. The nationality or race or religion of a person does not matter. The age, health or income of a person does not matter. Each person is vulnerable to the ravages of this virus and each person is capable of contributing to the common good or ill of us all.
Begin to imagine what you think our life together will look like in the months ahead. How do you see us gathering for worship and other communal events? What will school look like for our children? What will social gatherings for holidays and other celebrations be like?
What values are most important to us as a community that is committed to following Jesus? Will the well-being of the most vulnerable be clear in the decisions we make?
This feels like a birth to me. Like something new is about to be born after the waiting and labor pains. And there will be no going back. We will have this new life among us that will be an incredible blessing and wonder—though sometimes tiring and disruptive. But it will be God's “yes” to the continuance of life and love.
As with a birth, ready or not-here it comes! As with a new life, we will learn how to receive and nurture it along the way. Family of God, may we be open to this new life, and be willing and creative co-creators of it with God.
With hope and longing,