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This picture was sent to me this week from one of our children. It is a drawing of the church and the figure in white is me! (Note the halo, folks!) With it came the message: We miss you and our church family. Tears came to my eyes. This was such a beautiful gift for me– certainly a random kindness! But it also reminded me that I too miss our church family. This was a true reminder of what I miss – smiles and love. But I wouldn’t trade the gift for anything in the world.
More than any of that, though, this picture told me we have planted good seeds. Seeds that continue to grow even in this time. While we are missing many aspects of life together, the body of Christ is still fulfilling its calling. In the Presbyterian Church (USA) we have the Great Ends of the Church which serve as a foundation for who we are and what we do as Presbyterians. They are:
I invite you to think about each of these over the next weeks. How are we working toward these? Each week I am going to reflect on one. I’d love to hear what you think about any or all of them. These can help us think about our life of faith in new ways, as the Spirit leads.
Serving Christ with you,
Don’t Start Sporting Your Sunday-Go-to-Meeting Clothes Just Yet…
“This is my commandment: love one another, just as I have loved you.” Jesus, to his disciples, in John 15:12
Dear RRPC Church Family,
Our Session met via Zoom to consider the implications of resuming live worship. There is an old adage, “Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.” After considering how many our sanctuary can safely accommodate (which is significantly less than 25%), and the numbers in our congregation who are still under the stay-at-home order, the Session voted to continue with recorded online worship and reassess at their June meeting.
I understand that this may be a disappointment to some; but at this juncture, in-person worship might be disappointing as well. Imagine this: no congregational singing, no real conversation as we must keep the 6 ft. distance, all wearing masks. Our time will come. It just has not come yet.
No one longs to be in community with you more than I do. I totally support the Session’s decision. It was made in love and consideration for our whole congregation. Their desire is to keep us all safe and healthy, and to do what we can to maintain community.
And the whole congregation has done remarkably well doing just that! How you have reached out to one another, cared for one another, is one of the marks of our strong and faithful congregation.
If you have further questions regarding this, please feel free to contact me, 505.892.6664.
Continuing to serve Christ with you,
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. —Romans 12: 2
I am part of a group of colleagues in the Presbytery that are taking time to reflect on the experience of ministry during this time of COVID-19. This has been a good discipline for me, although it has been until recent days a bit like trying to do inner reflections while in a canoe going through rapids. But as we settle into a new routine, a new way of thinking about the church and ministry, it has been helpful.
A word that has come to mind for me this week is resilience. To be resilient, according to the dictionary, is to be able to recover or adjust to misfortune or change. It brings to mind for me this verse above from Romans, which is about being transformed to discern the will of God. As a congregation, we are learning and will be continuing to learn what it is to be resilient in the midst of a lot of change, some of which may be with us for the foreseeable future. As a congregation we are learning to adapt – to being in recorded worship and Zoom gatherings, to making more phone calls or sending cards and notes in the mail. Going forward, there will be more ways to adapt with the changes presented to us.
But in all of it, we are to be discerning God’s will for us as the church, and what God is doing in our midst.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?– Isaiah 43:19
Serving Christ with you,
For those who celebrate it, a Blessed Mother’s Day! You won’t hear it mentioned much in the recorded service because Mother’s Day has always been the work of our youth, and they were not able to do a special service this year, so t felt like stealing from them–plus I knew anything I did would pale in comparison to all they do for the women in our congregation on that day.
I love the origins of Mother’s Day – a reconciliation movement among Civil War mothers who didn’t want any more of their sons to die. A movement of peace. The Civil War had created such divisions within our country and even within families and among friends. They knew there had to more than just an end to the war. They had to find a way to live together in peace.
I like these origins because to me it lifts up the Spirit of this holiday. Mothers leading in bringing people together–families, communities, neighbors. My guess is that it wasn’t only mothers, but aunts, sisters, daughters too. I am grateful not only to my mother, but to all the women who taught me the importance of family (both of blood and of choice), faith, and community. Those who mentored me in loving neighbors and loving God. God has been good in bringing into my life women who serve as guides and examples of peacemaking, community building people.
Take time this weekend to give thanks for those women in your life. And if they are living let them know how grateful you are.
Grateful for each of you,
PS: I want to thank Karen Payne for putting together the Weekly Witness for us. It takes all of us to continue the ministry and mission of RRPC!