We are well into the season of Easter. Even
though Easter Sunday has come and gone, the season rolls on for four more Sundays. Yet, every time I walk through the sanctuary, I feel as if time has stopped or rather stalled in the season of Lent. The sign up sheet for the Good
Friday Men's Breakfast still sits on a table on the Johnson side of the church. The Lenten banners still hang on their poles. The picture of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane still hangs behind the altar, keeping the church in
a sort of gloomy darkness appropriate for Lent and maybe for the current state of the world.
As strange as the experience entering our sanctuary in what seems to be an eternal Lent, I am reminded that God often speaks to
us in the still moments of life. In Psalm 46:10 God says, "Be still and know that I am God." Being still is something that seems to be counter cultural in our world. Now that we have to limit our activities and engagements, we
have had to struggle with being still in a new and different way. Outside of shopping for food and other necessities there is not much to do outside our homes. Although it seems my neighbors how have a new interest in gardening
I know that we all miss worshipping in church together. But what do you really miss about the way things used to be? Is it entertaining friends for dinner? Going out to dinner and actually sitting in a restaurant?
Maybe it is going to see a movie in a theatre or working out at a gym? I miss going out to breakfast. Breakfast always tastes better when someone else cooks it. Another thing about breakfast is that we usually have it at the beginning
of our day. While I am eating breakfast I think about the plans I have made for the day and I ponder the plans God has intended for me. At breakfast we can consider the ways in which God will make Himself known to us, whether it
be through stillness or activity. We can remember that the Easter proclamation that Jesus is risen, is a reminder that He will be with us through every minute of every day, even in the stillness of quarantine. That very first Easter,
when the disciples were shut in behind locked doors in the "upper room", Jesus found a way in. So we know that Jesus will always find a way into our lives, no matter where we are or what has befallen us.
Our Bishop Tracy
Bartholomew has asked all the pastors in our Synod to forgo a service this Sunday and ad a link to a special service prepared by our Synod staff. I have wrestled with whether or not to comply with this request. However, after much
prayer and consideration, I have decided to join in this endeavor. Wouldn't it be great for all the ELCA Lutherans in New Jersey to join in one worship service, even if we are joining in from our homes!
I have been planning
a children's sermon/activity for several weeks now. As I have worked on the details, I think it would be appropriate for most age groups, and I will adapt it to include some elements of our worship, including the prayer of the
church (so we can get our weekly dedications into the prayers). So this week you can look for the link to the Synod service as well as a special video from me.
Also, our food pantry continues to function. It has been more
difficult to procure food and donations during the quarantine. As a result, the social concerns committee have decided to extend the drive by donation activity to every Wednesday during the quarantine. If you would like to make
donations of any kind to the pantry, you may drive by the pantry house on Knight Ave. between 5:00pm and 6:00pm on Wednesdays and volunteers will collect your donations. Social concerns has also decided to hold pantry again this
Thursday. Hours are from 9:00am to 11:00am and 6:00pm to 7:00pm. Pantry is the fourth Thursday of the month, except when there is a holiday basket distribution, so there may have been some confusion among recipients because this
is a five Thursday month.
Thanks to all who have continued to support the pantry in this time of need. I was happy to see several of you this past Wednesday as you were dropping off food. Thanks to all who continue to send
donations into the church so that we can continue to pay our bills. Thanks to the council members for processing the offerings and making bank deposits.
As you may know, Janet has a book of ongoing memorials for flowers
and other ministries. Each week we are including these memorials in the Friday notes and in our prayer of the church. Since we are not purchasing flowers for the altar at this time, we do not expect to collect flower money in connection
with the memorials. We will continue to include flower memorials in the notes and prayers for the duration of the quarantine.
Amy and the boys are fine and healthy and I am as well. I hope that you are all in good health
and spirits during this trying time.
Should you need to talk, do not hesitate to call or e-mail me (office 856-939-4411, home 856-227-0643, email@example.com.) If I do not answer, leave a message and I will get back
to you as soon as possible.
Grace and Peace,