Pastor's Monthly Perspective

Greetings Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

               I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the One who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me, both in [our stay-at-home efforts] and in the [proclamation] and confirmation of the gospel. (Philippians 1:3-7)   

This Covid-19 pandemic is truly causing havoc in the lives of people all around the world, and causing much change in the way we live our lives. This pandemic causes us to experience great stress, anxiety, and fear. We didn’t expect this, we aren’t prepared for it, we don’t know how to avoid it, or how to medically treat it, it is beyond our understanding, overwhelming, and causes us to fear for our safety and for the safety of those we love.

How do we as people of faith, and I as pastor, gather courage from God and our Christian community in this time of fear and isolation?

Today I draw comfort from the familiarity and promise of the 23rd Psalm. The 4th verse, in the King James reads, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” The NRSV reads: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me.”

Whether it is the valley of the shadow of death, or the darkest valley--and it is a bit of both-God is right there with us. And the ancient shepherd used a rod and staff to guide and protect the sheep. This promise that God is with me through this difficult and confusing time, coming from a very familiar Psalm, brings me comfort. And I find similar passages of comfort and strength and hope as I read from other places in the Bible. I encourage you to read the Bible to find comfort and strength and hope for yourselves, and if you are unsure what to read, I suggest reading the Psalms – it has long been known as the Church’s prayer book for a good reason.

We also have not been gathering in the Church for Sunday worship, or other studies and meetings. We have been using e-mail and telephone, I have been posting regularly on our Facebook page, and we are learning to use the ZOOM meeting platform for worship, adult study, and hopefully for other meetings. Our Bishop has directed that we not meet together for any event, through the end of April, and then to reevaluate the situation. We are to use extreme caution so that no one gets sick by coming to our churches, and we also help to slow the spread of this virus by not gathering together.

 Prep for Easter - The Medieval Church would light a fire outside at dawn on Easter morning, and process outside around the church then into the basement and all through the church, then up the aisle to the altar to banish darkness and evil, and proclaim that Christ is Risen. I invite all of you, in the time between now and the Tuesday of Holy Week (April 7) to have someone take a short video (30 sec – 90 sec long) of you carrying a lit candle or lantern or flashlight as you walk outside around your house, or down the sidewalk somewhere in town, or around the church building, or if going outside is difficult, then carrying it down a hallway of your home or apartment building, and then email this video to Miles Small email vashonmiles@gmail.com Miles will put them together to show on ZOOM during Easter worship.

 Palm Sunday - Our palms are still coming. Several of us plan to be driving around with palms and dropping them off on your door steps on Saturday afternoon, April 4. Look for an email with the more information later this week. Holy Communion - We cannot serve communion in person at this time. Communion is supposed to be shared in community. May God bless you and take care of you; May the GOD be kind and gracious to you; May God look on you with favor and give you peace. Pastor Jo Dene

 
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