MIDWEEK MESSAGE #50
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #50. 50!!! As the saying goes: “Who’da thunk it?” Of course if you look at the bigger picture who would have thought this whole virus thing would still be going on? Certainly not me. As I think back I can honestly say I don’t know what I was thinking. Know what I mean? 🙂
I am writing this early this week, Monday to be exact. We will be heading to Ohio sometime tomorrow (Tuesday) to see Janna and Braden. (Braden if you are talking to Jo. LOL) Many of you know that 2020 saw the end of Janna’s marriage and the arrangement is that she gets him every other week and the “off Wednesday.” This is her week to have him and since his dad is picking him up early on Saturday for Spring Break out-of-state, Janna will also have him this Wednesday. With baseball in full swing for Braden and April a pretty full month already for me, Jo asked if we could take a trip over to see him. Yeah…like twist my arm! This weekend is moving weekend for Janna (she is moving into another place) so this will also give us a chance to offer some help. I’m still limited to what I can do because of the gall bladder surgery almost 5 weeks ago but I think I can still lift a fork or spoon when needed. 🙂 We hope to be home around noon on Thursday. Your prayers for a safe trip would be much appreciated.
It was good to see some faces in the audience yesterday we haven’t seen in a while. I was pleasantly surprised of the number of folks who were here despite it being the end of Spring Break. The greatest surprise visitor was Kayliana Beckwith. She is now a month old and has my utmost respect (or is that jealousy?) for the full head of brown hair. It was in a mohawk and mom and dad said it just stays that way even though they try to change it. I can remember when Braden had one. I cannot remember when I ever had one. Anyway, it was good to see Matt and Mary bring her to her first church service. And…I put her to sleep while I preached! She had an excuse, but the adults? Now…that is a different story. 🙂 We had some other folks who were here also. (I even got hugs from them). It is nice to see people slowly make their way back to the church building.
We’ve been announcing the past several weeks about our Resurrection Sunday service. As we have been saying, we have chosen not to use Abram Farm this Easter. Bill & Suzie are very gracious to us but we just think at this time this is smarter and safer. We will be offering two services that morning-one at 9:00 and the other at 10:45. They are our normal times so it will not throw folks off who plan to watch it via live stream. We know there will be those who would love to be here, especially since it is Easter, but are still hesitant in being in a crowd where masks are not required. We respect that, so we are making it so that those who are used to tuning in at a certain time will be able to do so. We will also have the children’s worship area available for use during the first service for those who want to come but are concerned about the crowd. We usually have a masked service on the first Sunday afternoon of the month but they were kind enough to move it to the next week. So if you prefer to come to a masked service, April 11th at 1:30 is our next one.
Just this morning I finished reading Tim Keller’s new book, Hope in Times of Fear. It is subtitled “The Resurrection and the Meaning of Easter.” In 2002 he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. He recently retired from being the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, a church he started in 1989. Shortly after he announced his retirement, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. So writing on the resurrection is pretty important to him. As it should be to all of us. His final words at the end of the last chapter, titled “Hope for the Future,” were these words: “Jesus has secured this for us by his death and resurrection. When this assurance abides in us, our immediate fate-how the current situation turns out- can no longer trouble us. Defiance comes from looking at ourselves. Hope comes from looking at Him.” I’d just like to add a few words. Whether it be the pandemic, whether it be the prospect of cancer or natural causes taking our life, or whether it be a hardship that wears us down, we have the assurance of a hope the world simply cannot offer. Someone might say, “What a blind hope! There is no God and there is no hope beyond the grave.” Although I disagree, that may be so. But I’d sure rather place my faith in Someone and something greater than to die and regret the choice I made. It is like someone has said, “If I die and I’m wrong I’ve lost nothing. But if you die and you are wrong, you have lost everything.”
FYI: Jo and I got our first COVID vaccine this past Tuesday. Our second shot is scheduled for April 19th.
I hope you have a great rest of the week. Know that you are loved.