Happy Monday everyone. Our organist, Eric Wicks, has shared an organ recital for you as a gift. We know many are missing the beautiful organ music each Sunday, we hope this helps.
Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.
-Joel 2: 11-12
One of the Lenten disciplines that is always encouraged is fasting. During this particular Lent we are most certainly fasting in ways that we had never intended. We find ourselves fasting from face-to-face interactions, from going about some of our daily routines, perhaps from picking up our regular items from the store and from experiencing Holy Communion together. None of this comes to us as an intentional fast to make room for prayer but, all of it allowing for time to reflect in prayer on so many different things. This forced fast has been pretty eye opening, allowing time to think about the things that we can’t currently have access to, or that no longer seem like a big deal, and it makes me wonder what things that we are currently fasting from that may not return.
When we talk about fasting as a prayer discipline we speak of filling the space of something we consume with time for prayer and reflection. This is a time of prayer and reflection can be spent giving thanks for what we have been blessed with and praying for those who lack the same. We might find that when we give up a comfort in our lives it readies our hearts for more urgent sacrifices that might be called upon us from time to time. Today it seems we are living in a vulnerable state of fasting. I know that it is one that creates anxiety and a sense of helplessness in not knowing how to help. I urge you to take this time of fasting and create space to pray, to reflect on the blessings that abound in our lives and trust that God is faithful.
Lastly, this week I’ve started reading (literally just started) a book titled “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals” by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro. It speaks to the ways that Common Prayer helps today’s diverse church pray together across traditions and denominations. It seems most appropriate to me now in light of our current pandemic situation. Early in the book, page 19 on my Kindle to be exact, they have this to say about prayer: “We never pray alone, even when praying by ourselves.” I take great comfort in that during this time and I hope you do too. Remember that we continue to hold you in prayer and long for the day that we gather to pray together.
Dear First Lutheran,
Things change quickly with this Coronavirus and so we’ve had to adjust some of the decisions we had previously communicated. We will be heeding the recommendation of our Governor and Health officials and postponing our Gallery of Living Art (GOLA). GOLA will not be held this weekend. We hope to hold it in the near future. We’ve also decided to cancel worship for the next three weekends, March 14/15, March 21/22, March 28/29. However, we will be creating online worship experiences for each week and encourage you to participate during the time you regularly worship. We don’t want to be presumptive about when we will resume worship but will communicate that as soon as we know.
In addition to postponing GOLA and moving worship online we are taking the following actions:
• All church activities are suspended until April 1. We encourage groups to check in with each other and find online ways to meet during this time.
• Pastors and Caregivers will be reaching out to people via phone calls and emails in lieu of visitation.
• Church staff will create online worship experiences that will be distributed via e-mail, social media and our website on Sundays.
• The church facilities will remain open for 12 step groups and other outside groups to use at their discretion.
• The church office will be open during business hours to receive phone calls and emails and coordinate our ministry during this time.
These are anxious times, so we turn to our Lord in prayer to give us guidance and peace. Christians have long been known to care for the sick and those in need. Today that care is shown by refraining from meeting in large groups to protect the most vulnerable among us. We are people who follow a Lord who gave His own life as a sacrifice. As a result, we are willing to make the sacrifices necessary, to help suppress the spread of this virus. We do this not just for our own sake, but for the sake of those who are most threatened.
Please stay in communication with the pastors and church staff. Let us know how you are doing and how we can serve you. If you or someone you know is in need of anything, please share that with us so we can help. We are in this together. I think of the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers, but God used him to save the whole nation of Israel. He said at the end of Genesis “Even though you intended to do harm to me, God intended it for good, in order to preserve a numerous people, as he is doing today.” God doesn’t cause things like the Coronavirus, but he can use it to bring us together and help us remember that we are part of a community that can do great work to protect and serve one another.
We will be communicating with the congregation frequently during this time as we adjust the way we minister to one another. May God guide us with creativity, faith and patience during these difficult times. The Lord be with you!
One last night…
One last night…
March 6, 2020
LOCK-IN at the PEEL HOUSE
In April we hope to begin renovations on the Peel House, which means it will be out of commission for a period of time before the newly refurbished space is open. Over the years our youth have had lots of fun playing in the Peel House, it is a great space for dance parties, playing games, (sneaking on the roof over the porch when they think no one is watching) and playing sardines. Sardines, might be the most favorite activity of the youth in the Peel House. The game is a take on Hide & Seek where one person hides and then everyone else has to find them and hide with them! As you can imagine the house has tons of great spaces to hide!
So, to honor these long-held youth group traditions we are having a Senior High LOCK-IN, on March 6-7. It will be one more chance to play games in the Peel House and then to spend the night in the house! All 9th-12th graders are invited and as always friends are welcome! We can’t wait to play games, watch movies, and tell stories of all the fun we’ve had together in the Peel House!
We will begin the evening with an Iron Chef competition! The event will include recipe planning, budgeting, shopping, cooking, and finally eating. We are excited to have some “celebrity” judges come for that part of the evening! Then we will move to the Peel House for a fun night together, games, movies, fellowship and snacks. In the morning we will have a great big breakfast at 9 am and send everyone home at 10! We look forward to seeing everyone!
Ready to sign up? Click here: https://flccs.net/ministries/peel-house-lock-in