Sunday afternoon thoughts from Pastor Beth….

Dear friends,

I missed worshiping together today.  Eric and I hold you in our thoughts and prayers. We are working on ways to stay connected with you.  We will be in touch in the next several days about those sorts of things.

So, now, I am just going to say it.  This is weird.  This is all very weird.  And, unfortunately, it’s probably going to get weirder.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said, “We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago.”

So, we are encouraged to practice social distancing and refrain from public gatherings. To limit our outings and excursions.  To wash our hands and not touch our faces. To stop hoarding toilet paper and hand sanitizer so others can simply find what they need today. Employers are asking employees to telecommute.  Concerts and Sports Events are canceled.  Schools are suspended.  Churches are not congregating.  It’s weird.  Very weird.

We listen and follow these guidelines “out of an abundance of caution” because we hope they will make a difference in the spread of a virus, COVID-19.  We listen and follow these guidelines because we care about those who are most vulnerable.  We listen and follow these guidelines because the choices we make as individuals have an impact on many.

In seemingly less weird times, it is too easy to forget this. To forget we are all vulnerable.  To forget the choices we make as individuals can impact many. It is too easy to go through our daily lives without giving any pause to wonder how the choices we make impact others, especially those who are more vulnerable.  These can be big choices—Do I take that job? Where do I invest my retirement funds? Do I purchase a big ticket item?  These can be very ordinary choices we make with little thought—Do I smile at the grocery cashier?  Do I reach out to that friend I have been thinking about? Do I speak a kind word to a stranger?

We each make choices every day.  Not all of them, but enough of them make an impact on others—especially those who are most vulnerable. We don’t always know who those vulnerable ones are.  Actually, they may even be you and me.

What we do know is, Jesus calls us to choose love. Over and over and over and over again, choose love.  And, especially, to love those who are most vulnerable.  Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

As you contemplate the choices before you in the days, weeks, and months to come, I encourage you to choose love.  This is a weird time for everyone.   Many people feel vulnerable.  Many people ARE vulnerable—because of their health, because business is slow, because they have no home, because this is all very weird.

How do we choose love?  How do we as individuals choose love?  How do we as the people of St. Mark choose love—especially for the most vulnerable?

I set those questions before us as the questions of my heart on this sunny and cool Sunday afternoon.   I encourage your responses and your thoughts.  We need each other as we discern, in this very weird time, how to love our neighbors.

God bless you and keep you close,

Pastor Beth