A Sermon for Palm Sunday

In another sermon rich in scripture and level-headed wisdom, Bob talks about our need for hard facts – data – in this strange time, and then explores 5 things that Christians may actually not want to know about their faith and what it all means.

Thanks to technology, ministry goes on!!!

So I’m sure you are all wondering what we do when we can’t assemble physically in our beloved building. Does “church” stop? Of course not! Worship continues every Sunday at 10:30. You just have to check your email and click on the invitation to join the Zoom service! We even have portable, sealed, personal Communion cups that you can call ahead and pick up at the church building, so we can all take Communion together, at home…(Did you follow all of that?) We can sing, listen to a lesson, fellowship afterward, even attend our Care Groups… online.

We also are trying out Celebrate Recovery hanging out time together- a video, some songs, a skit or short lesson- and again, time to visit with each other. That is available at 7:00 on Thursday nights. If you want an invitation, contact Bob at wcminister@mywcoc.org.

And, last but certainly not least, On Friday morning at 10:00, we will have a Zoom Ladies’ Bible Class, reading our way chronologically through the Bible (Not actually reading DURING class, trying to read ahead of time. Whew! I had me worried there.). For many who in the past have been unable to attend, a special welcome and invite to all of you. Again, same deal about getting an invite to the Zoom meeting. See each other’s bright, shining faces without incurring the risk of catching Covid 19. Read the promise Jesus made to the apostles, blog below this one, which takes on all new meaning in light of current events. Prayers for healing, for protection, for medical personnel and first responders, for government leaders and vaccine researchers.

A Relevant Promise for These Days

John 16:31-33

“You believe at last!” Jesus answered.  “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I Love the World Right Now

        (This blog was written by our dear brother, Rob Hoagland)

  The world is crazy right now, and I believe it should go without saying that as a relatively well-adjusted human being, I wish that the world wasn’t suffering from a global pandemic. This said, I’m really loving the world right now, there is so much good in it. Of course I see the bad as well, I am a cynic after all, people are being greedy and selfish, but most of that is being self-corrected.

          Stillness- this is possibly the most easy to notice. One can’t go out into the world without noticing that traffic has lessened, and that people are not rushing about. The cause for this is obvious, but I don’t feel it’s wrong of me to appreciate the calm.

          People have tried to take advantage of the panic, by hoarding supplies and selling them for inflated prices, but when they did, sites like Amazon and Ebay, have blocked and banned said sellers. This has eliminated incentive to do this, and has even forced many of those who were trying to take advantage, to donate their hoarded goods. I am thankful for this.

          Many companies have taken it upon themselves to make things easier for their customers or employees (and yes some of this might be to try and gain favor, or stay in business in trying times, but still people’s lives are positively affected). We have seen companies send employees home with pay. Companies are changing policies to keep customers and employees safe, offering curbside services and the like. Crafting companies, and art companies have been offering decent discounts so people have more reasons to stay home. Along these lines, streaming services have pushed up release dates, when they would have previously been milking DVD sales for a few months before release. Electric companies have stated they won’t cut off power or charge back interest, and at least my bank has said they will help people have access to monies, even if they have none coming in. All of these have been done without regulations, or coercion being leveled.

          On the other side of the business scale, many people have really pushed to support small business during, and after the pandemic, as they will be hit harder than larger corporations. I’ve also seen people offer jobs to those not working, I’ve personally been affected by this. I like that business and even churches have had to rethink how they do things, and that many of the changes could be worth keeping long after we get through this, but would have never been considered without such a drastic prompt.

          As stockpiles of medical supplies dwindle, a few companies have stopped production of what they normally make, to fill the increasing demand for masks. There is even an ever-growing fringe movement of at home creators, and seamstresses to make hundreds of masks to donate, and craft stores have been donating supplies so that they can do so.

While these are dark times, and none of us know what the morrow may bring, I personally can’t help but see that there is still a lot of good in the world, and much to be thankful for.

Forge

This really goes without saying, but what a crazy week we have had! If you would have asked anyone just two weeks ago what their plans for the week were, not a single person would have said: “Well, I think I will spend my time locked indoors, unsuccessfully try to purchase toilet paper, and wonder how much, or how little a global pandemic would affect me.” All this said, it’s crazy how quickly we adapt, and most of us have found our groove, and a new “normal.”

Read more

Too Much Opportunity

Have you ever heard of “compassion fatigue?” It really is a thing. During times of crisis or disaster, the cries for help become so constant that emotionally a person becomes overloaded and shuts down. After a certain point, you just can’t process it anymore. It’s not that you don’t care, it’s that you CAN’T care anymore- it’s a self-protective shut-down.

Well, I’m a long way from that, but I AM suffering from “advice fatigue” on ways to deal with CoVid 19- both as an individual and as a minister for a church. My email box is flooded with things we really MUST do to take care of the brethren. Forget trying to DO all these things- I can’t even finish reading all of them. Good suggestions, many of them, and I want to be open to learn and expand our ministry options. But at the same time, you just can’t do it all.

Who are we listening to? Good question, that. I want to take in data, look at own unique situation, needs and opportunities, assess our resources, but then pray, and ask for the guidance that can only come from God himself. During this time of loud screaming needs and advice, it is the “still small voice” that spoke to Elijah that I want to hear today. And that takes study, stillness and solitude- made easier by social distancing, actually. It is not until we have accomplished these that we can really understand and move on Paul’s advice to the churches of Galatia-

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. (Gal. 6:9-10)

Becoming the Dove

(This post was written by our dear sister Kelly Marcum. Enjoy!)

Are you struggling with the ways of the world right now? Are you feeling lost, hopeless, worried or anxious? Did you think your faith was strong enough before the virus interrupted life as we know it? 

Well, some days my answer to all of these questions is yes, of course, but then there are other days where the happenings of the world feel a little heavier than others. 

I always turn to the one item that seems to give me peace of mind, a sign that there is still hope to be had in a world where the waters are rising, God’s gift to us, the Dove. 

The dove is a symbol that represents peace of the deepest kind. The dove is to sooth and quiet our worries or trouble thoughts and give each of us the ability to be renewed with an overwhelming calming mind. But the dove can and does symbolize much more. It also is a symbol of innocence and harmlessness (Matthew 10:16). 

During these times, we are to grow our faith and become stronger in the word. We are to be the dove for others. It is not what can be done for us, but what can we do for those who can not do for themselves. As Christians we are to be a servant but we sometimes forget that during the difficult times.  We are to be God’s light and help others. 

Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine for others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

John 8:12, “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Bring back the hope that Jesus gives us everyday. Let us Shine our light that we have been blessed with for others to feel and see the hope of tomorrow. Let’s become the dove.

 

Monday Musings

I’m at the office, actually, just finished watching Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Band sing “Atheists Ain’t Got No Songs” on Facebook by way of YouTube. Am I easily distracted? Oh yes! But I was up all night, tossing and turning, trying to think about what would be inspiring and thoughtful for my very first web site blog post. “Oh please, Holy Spirit, inspire me!!!”

Metro and the Park service are discouraging folks from going to the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms. But if you drive by the church building today on 29, even in the rain, you can see 3 mature cherry trees in full bloom, every bit as beautiful as what they have in D.C. You can turn on Nordix and pull into the parking lot. No crowds, plenty of social distance. In fact, you can walk right up to the trees and see the amazing flowers, you can see them flutter in the breeze. Look at all the traffic you didn’t have to fight, the crowds you didn’t have to avoid, to see God’s beautiful creation, up close and personal.

There are amazing things to see, if you know where to look. We turn to television or comedy clubs, but our 5 year old comedians at home do the best routines. In our back yards, however small, miracles of renewal and transformation are taking place, right before our eyes. God showers down His blessings, even during the pandemic. It’s all right there, but you have to know where to look (Anywhere and everywhere, but with open eyes that want to see!).

                     Psalm 34:8-9

   Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!

Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

   Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,

for those who fear him have no lack!

How weird is that? Taste and see? Taste, and by tasting you WILL see… see what? That the Lord is good. It kind of goes with our theme for this year, doesn’t it? Look, taste, drink deep. Experience life, look for the beauty, and you will SEE that the Lord is good. So get out there and look and taste already!

A World Wide Prayer

CHRISTIANS TO UNITE AGAINST COVID-19
A world day of prayer is called on Sunday 22 March at 12 noon local
time.
All Christians are asked to pray at home from 12 noon to 1pm, covering
the globe in 24 hours. Pray for:
1. The stop of the spread of the virus
2. The recovery of those already infected
3. Peace for the families who lost loved ones
4. Restoration of the economies of the world
5. Wisdom for the governments who have to manage the outbreak.
Never before has there been a reason to call ALL Christians around the
world to a global day of prayer against a threat that affects the entire
world.
Please let everyone know.
Let’s blanket the world in prayer.