During this time of sheltering-in-place and physical-distancing, when we need to stay home to help slow the spread of this new virus, my thoughts and feelings have been all over the place. I suspect I am not the only one. When we are experiencing Lent in this new way sometimes the scriptures I have known the longest are a great comfort. Though I don’t use the King James Version of the Bible much at times of stress the familiar language I learned it in is very meaningful. The 23rd Psalm is one of these familiar passages which I have been found comfort in these past weeks.
23 1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the
This Psalm reminds me that even while I am physically-distancing, God is with me. God is there when things are good: green pastures and beside still waters. God is also with me in that valley of the shadow of death. And verse 6 reminds us that goodness and mercy will be with us in life and that we will be with the Lord forever.
When I get overwhelmed or fearful, I remember this scripture, sometimes by saying it out loud. I also let myself feel whatever I am feeling. I don’t push the feeling away. I have learned it is best to feel the emotion. I have also learned not to get stuck in that emotion. That is when I remember scriptures such as “Go make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), or our congregation’s vision statement of “Inviting People, Living the Love of Christ”. Yes, the way we do those things are different right now but they can still be done on the phone, through the mail and on the internet.
I hope you will reach out to someone today – maybe someone you haven’t talked with in a while or someone who lives alone. Let them know that you care and that God loves them!
I am keeping very busy learning technology to bring some sort of worship or devotions to us. Our denomination, and especially our annual conference, is doing a great job of providing tools to assist in this ministry as well as other aspects of ministry. We have received word that the annual conference is funding some portion of our ministry shares – a small portion but it will still help! This is another way the conference is helping us. See the rest of this newsletter for the events that are being postponed – they will happen later but they are postponed for now. Please know that while some things are postponed, we are still planning on Vacation Bible School, still working to hire a new Director of Music, still working with our worship consultant, still staying in touch with other churches and groups in Milan to see what we can do during this time and still providing worship and caring for each other – just in a new way.
If you are a leader of a group in the church and want to meet via the internet please let me know. I have access to ‘Zoom’ which is a virtual meeting space.
We will be celebrating Holy Week and Easter virtually. Watch for services to be online.
I am also looking forward to celebrating with you when we return to in person worship. That is another way I get through those ‘tough’ moments – visualizing us together and celebrating the resurrected Christ.
Please feel free to contact me via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone (call or text) to
906-553-1953. If you need something brought to your house, or know someone who does, please contact me I will do my best to arrange it.
See you Sunday! ... On-line! - Pastor Jackie Roe