Good afternoon Church!
This afternoon as I write, the snow is gently falling from the sky–coming to blanket us in the peace-filled hush of winter’s embrace. Can you hear the quiet? Do you enjoy this silence?
This has been a pretty quiet week, all around. I emerged from a second round of quarantining a couple days ago, thankful to find that all has been well at the church building in my absence.
Looking at the next couple of weeks:
This Sunday the Rev. Dr. Shaun Whitehead will be leading worship for us.
The following Sunday–January 31st– we will be holding our annual congregational meeting over Zoom, beginning at 11:30am. Look for an email from me mid-week with annual reports for you to read prior to our meeting as well as the invitational link you will need to use to access the meeting.
For those of you who are unsure of how to navigate Zoom, please feel free to practice “zooming” this week by joining Lora and Dick Lunt at our weekly Zoom coffee hour, which begins every Sunday at 11am. Lora will send you the email invitation on Saturday, for you to be able to participate. This weekly Zoom is a nice way to get to “see” each other, and to hear how others are fairing.
With our congregational meeting coming upon us next week, I’d like to take a moment today to ask you to consider donating the per capita amount our church is required to pay for our members, for the services our denomination and our presbytery provide to us. This year the amount is $31 per person. For those who don’t know, per capita is money churches are required to pay to help support the governing infrastructure of our presbytery, synod, and General Assembly. This money is also used to create educational and missional services for us to use all year long. Each church covers this cost for its members, but if you are able to contribute towards it, it is greatly appreciated. If you send in a contribution, either for the entirety of the $31, or some portion of it, just write “per capita” on the memo line of your check.
Friends, please continue to be praying for Seth Chichester and family, as they mourn the loss of Marlene. Due to the pandemic, the family is holding off on a memorial service until spring. In lieu of sending flowers, the family is asking for donations to be made in Marlene’s name to either The Alzheimer’s Association or United Helpers.
A Word of Encouragement
As COVID ravages around us, and we find ourselves hunkering down even tighter for winter, I wonder what sort of opportunity this might lend for us to turn inward– to do the sort of work on ourselves that can only be done in the hush of darkness and the stillness of winter. It is a time for us to take stock and ask ourselves the hard questions. “Is the person I have become, the person I want to be?” we might ask ourselves. “And who am I, exactly?” As we dig down into the layers of our identity, we can also sit with the deeper question, “Who is God calling me to be right now?”
Every day we have the fresh, new opportunity to make choices for ourselves– to keep living the path we forged the day before, or, to shift our energy, habits, and awareness to become something different.
If there is one thing that the pandemic has shown us, it’s that change is all around us–something God purposefully built into creation! If, upon reflection, you are not happy with the person you have become, God created you specifically with the ability to grow and adapt. We may never possess the power to change those who are around us, but every moment of every day we have the power to open ourselves up to becoming a new creation.
In the book of Ezekiel, God tells the prophet to prophesy to all of the people of Israel. In the past the people have hardened their hearts against God, but God promises them, “I will give you a new heart and I will put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”~Ezekiel 36:26
Dear Hearts, if in the snowy silence of January you come to know that you need a change for yourself, God’s mercies are new every morning.
When the student is ready, God provides the teacher.
Sitting in the hush,