Hello Dear Hearts,
Today is a beautiful, crisp, sunny afternoon and my houseplants and I are soaking up the warmth shining through the windows. It feels so good to feel the sunshine on your skin after so many dreary, grey days, doesn’t it? And tonight is supposed to be as clear as a bell– with a beautiful moon to boast!
Well, I’ve got a few announcements for you this week.
I am excited to announce that this Sunday we will be celebrating communion together– via the interwebs! I doubt any of us has ever celebrated communion together in this way, so we’ll have to ride a little loose in the saddle with it, but that’s ok. If you remember ahead of time, bring a cup of grape juice (or whatever substitute you might have in the fridge) and a piece of bread when you turn on the service. If you forget though, don’t fret! When it’s time for communion, all you have to do is hit the pause button and I will freeze in motion until you return and hit play once more. Ok? We’ll give this a shot this week and see how it turns out. If you have feedback for me afterwards– on what it was like on your end–just send me a note.
“There’s a Star in the East”
I don’t know if you remember or not, but early on into the pandemic we decided that our beautiful, blue advent star– the one that Dick Partch and Ron wrangled to the top of our steeple, should stay lit at night during the pandemic– as a light of hope in this troubling time. Dick set it on a timer, and now that we will be “falling back” an hour on Sunday (don’t forget!), keep your eyes peeled for it out in the evening hours. It will be coming on at 5:15pm and going off at 10pm.
Every time I see it lit, I start singing the Christmas hymn, “There’s a star in the east on Christmas morn’. Rise us shepherd and follow!” What do you think of when you see the star? I’d love to know!
If you somehow escaped the media blast over the last few months, this Tuesday is also election day. Some of you, I know, have voted early, but if you weren’t aware, the polls will be open at the county building in Canton every day from now up until election day. My daughter Lexi and I voted this past Tuesday afternoon and we made it through in 40 minutes– so it’s not too terrible. Just know that the line takes you up 2 flights of stairs, to the second floor where the Board of Elections has their office space. If you cannot climb the stairs, you can tell the polling people and they will let you use the elevator.
And now for the fun news! (They always say to save the best for last, right?)
This last Wednesday, Renee Stauffer, Julie Miller, the Stauffer kids, and T-Rex showed up to bring a little extra cheer to Crane Students who attend Dr. William Lake’s Wassail Wednesdays. T-Rex had made a tasty batch of wassail and goodie bags to share with the students. A big thanks to all invovled for bringing some love and laughs into the world!
Friends, on a more serious note, we are coming down to the wire for this election. Four more days. Will we make it? I can see how the contentiousness and vitriol of this particular election cycle has taken a serious toll on all of us. No matter which side of the political divide you stand on, the split down the middle feels deep and cavernous, and it grieves my heart.
If you’re anything like me, you may struggle with the temptation to think of people in an opposing political camp as an “enemy,” or with harboring bitterness in your heart against them.
So I will remind you of what I have to keep reminding myself: God knows there’s more to the “them’s” (and yes, to you too) than the judgments we make about each other. My prayer for us moving forward, is that we will remember that our “enemies” are still our neighbors, and our family, and perhaps even people we called friends. We certainly do not all agree on some really important matters, but until we can see the humanity in one another, it’s not possible to live as “one nation, under God.” And without that, working towards “liberty and justice for all” becomes much more ellusive.
With that said, I will leave you with one final thought: God is bigger than the outcome of this election. Whether you find this election to end in a “saving grace,” or “a nightmare scenario,”– whatever the results may be– God is still the creator and governing presence of the universe. And God’s ways are not our ways.
Let me say that one more time. God’s ways are not our ways.
So come what may, let us remain focused on the ways of God– on The Way of Jesus.
“…let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. “Hebrews 12:1-2
Saints, let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
Holding the faith line,