I miss you! I miss seeing your smiling faces. I miss visiting. I miss shaking your hands on the way out of church. I miss worshipping together in person. Because of the stay at home order, we now have a whole congregation of shut ins, including all three of your pastors! And those who must leave the home for work do so with hesitation and worry. These are different times. These times are filled with anxiety, overloaded with work and helping facilitate schooling for our children, flooded with news of illness and death, filled with questions about how long and what if. Yet, one thing remains the same... God loves us.
God’s love never fades. As I write this during Holy Week, I am well aware that the news is telling us this week will get worse. That seems to be a theme for Holy Week, too. It keeps on getting worse for Jesus. But, I also remember that on the first day of the next week, Jesus arose. He arose so that hope, joy, endurance, peace, and love can arise within each of us. The message of the resurrection is not lost in the pandemic. God loves us.
God loves us dearly. God loves us deeply. God will never leave us or forsake us. Our hope can rest on this.
With hope, we wait to get back together. As we wait, I am trying to connect with you through phone calls, Facebook, and our services online. I hope we can continue to build community through the technology available today. As part of this effort, I have been publishing some Bedtime Stories and Meditations on Facebook each week. The stories go out Sunday evenings. Meditations are posted on Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays. These stories and meditations are based on favorite Bible stories. They include prayer, relaxation, and mindfulness techniques as a way to introduce basic contemplative practices. They are intended for the whole family. My hope is that they will help us with the following:
build spiritual resilience during this time of turmoil by strengthening our connection with God through guided prayer,
relieve stress with opportunities to relax through techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation, and
strengthen our awareness through mindfulness skills, such as mindful listening and emotional awareness.
The first three Bedtime Bible Stories are included in this newsletter. They can also be found on Facebook and
on my YouTube channel Contemplative Pastor, along with the guided meditations. I hope they will be a reminder of God’s constant presence and deep love for each of you.
Finally, FPC is a congregation that cares. If you are in an at risk group or you get sick and cannot get things you need, we have a list of people who want to help. They are willing to go get medicine, food, and other essential items and leave them at your door. Please call me if you need this kind of help. Also, the membership ministry is encouraging you to send cards to one another, especially to those who cannot connect online. They want everyone to remember God’s love and our love for one another.
It is a joy to be one of your pastors. Until we meet again face to face, stay well.