Tuesday, April 28

Good morning church,

It is time for some good news. This is what Joy J. wrote to me this morning about the birth of her (second) grandchild. I believe they still live in the greater DC area.  

“Lyla Lee H. was born to Kelly and Jason early this morning …she weighs 8 lbs. 5 ounces.  All are doing well. Funny story about big sister Zoe, who walked out of her house two weeks ago with a backpack on and lunchbox in hand, wanting to go back to “school” because she misses her friends….she is 25 months old!!! Yesterday the neighbors came over to get Zoe so Kelly and Jason could go to the hospital.  The neighbor family has a child a bit older than Zoe.  Anyway, Zoe was so excited to see another child that she took her hand and walked out of the house, not even looking back at Kelly and Jason.  Even very  little kids sense how different life is and the importance of human contact!”

I remember officiating the wedding of Kelly and Jason. They are a very cute couple. Kelly is the talkative one, with wonderful creative writing inclinations and enJOYment (pun intended) of people and situations. Jason is quiet and analytical, supportive and down to earth. Having grown up in the US, Jason is as Greek as his name suggests.  After the wedding ceremony at church, the entire wedding party drove down to Manayunk to have a party at the Manayunk Brewery. One thing I don’t remember is how we actually found parking there, because that’s a challenge on a good day during the normal times that we all miss (People! People! People!). But on that day, the brewery horses were parading down Main Street, greeted by onlookers and excited folk taking pictures with cell phones in hand. It was a zoo!  We must have made it to the party on time because we witnessed how bride and groom ventured out on Main Street to be photographed in the midst of the day’s excitements. In fact, the Budweiser Clydesdales were stomping down the Main Street corridor and the wedding photographer had the brilliant idea to take a photo of the beautiful couple with the horses. That’s when one of the horses reached out to the bride and gave Kelly a big fat kiss! (Yum!)  That’s how I remember the story.  And now Jason and Kelly have two little girls. Even as a non-superstitious person I’d like to think that the horse’s kiss meant good luck. Congratulations!    

I also spoke to Gail T. yesterday and she shared with me good news about her daughter’s mother-in-law. Remember, Eileen J. was in an area hospital with Covid 19. She has just experienced one bad medical diagnosis after another.  She has now recovered from the virus and can go on fighting the cancer. It’s unbelievable how some people are hit but thank you for your prayers and she has one less thing to deal with!

I was meditating this morning about a Scripture verse from 2. Chronicles 22:19: “Now set your heart and mind to seek the Lord and God.”  And I kept thinking about the all-important “Settings” function on our “all-important” cell phones. My children keep educating me about it. But at least I know this much: when we are on an airplane trip (once upon a time…) you are supposed to put it in airplane mode. I have done the same while traveling in Europe to avoid the roaming charges which can accumulate so quickly.  Basically, it prevents the device from seeking connections. It’s easy to apply this as a metaphor to our spiritual lives. Sometimes the settings in our hearts and minds are not in a receptive mode. We are on spiritual “airplane mode,” traveling at fast speeds here or there, not able or even willing to get a signal from God. At this time many of us are changing our spiritual settings, allowing God to send us signals. But remember, it does require your permission (changing your settings). May the Lord bless you!

Yesterday, I received this wonderful, sweet note from the North Country (Wisconsin).  It was Kirsten O.’s younger sister Ingrid. She wrote:

“Dear Pastor Andreas Wagner, I want to thank you for the lovely internet services St. Peters has graced me with these past 4 weeks.  I am Kirsten O.’s younger sister and I’ve been so uplifted by being able to watch your services, messages, readings, and music that your church and congregation have provided (for) so many.  I’ve also forwarded them to a very troubled woman in NYC who’s been in lockdown in her apt. there who had lost her job back in Nov.  She finds them very helpful as well.  I love your presentation and words of wisdom.  Of course, I love the music too…having grown up with Kirsten my entire life has been with music as an integral part.  It is one of many coping mechanisms I find most useful in this time of Covid-19.  I am a retired Registered Nurse who lives on a homestead in the country in SW Wisconsin.  We grow a big garden and have raised chickens as well.  This time of reflection and people coming to terms with the “busy ness” of their lives is profound.  You are very articulate and humble and I love everything about you. Hugs and God’s Blessings to you and your family,”  (Ingrid O., Blue River, WI)

Thank you, Ingrid!  I appreciate that various people forward messages to others when they find them meaningful.  That’s how the gospel has always reached people.  If it is meaningful to you, chances are it will be meaningful to many others. We have no “copyright” on the insights and stories we share. We would like them to be part of God’s Word that goes out and fertilizes the souls of people, bringing forth fruit in time (Isaiah 55: 10-11)   

For today we have a number of church meetings again. At noon, our staff convenes for our weekly conference. Tonight at 7:00 p.m., our youth will be gathering via Zoom and at 8:00 p.m. we have a technology meeting. All of this is happening via video conferencing. The church is active, even as the building remains closed for the public.

Yesterday, our St. Peter’s Devotional Book Project was officially launched. We sent out 17 disciples or (couples) into the world of the scripture. (I am number 18) They each selected four Bible verses and will dig deep into God’s Word to produce 72(!!!) devotions initially. This is a three-year project and at the conclusion of it we will publish the St. Peter’s Devotional Book with a scripture and a reading for each day of the year. We will probably publish some of them ahead of time via email so you don’t have to wait until the beginning of 2023!

For today, please join me in prayers for people in our community infected by Covid 19. Gwen S., who grew up at St. Peter’s and has been reconnecting with our congregation over the last several months, and is preparing for the Baptism of her daughter Meredith (when that is possible again!), forwarded me a news story that I found touching:    

“These are difficult and scary times for a Bucks County family. Curt E., 57, has COVID-19 and is on a ventilator. His wife of 30 years is asking family, friends, and strangers for prayers.

“I want as many people as I can find to pray for him and try to make a miracle happen to get him over the hump,” Kathleen E. told FOX 29…  Kathleen lives trying to balance fear and optimism for her best friend and husband. ‘My faith is what’s getting me through,’ she said. Kathleen adds she doesn’t want anything material, but she wants collective prayer for Curt from people near and far.”

Let us pray for Curt and everyone we are aware of, fighting this virus, many of them in our area hospitals.

Today is the birthday of MaryAnn G. Happy birthday, MaryAnn!!!

Be safe and be blessed! Pastor Andreas Wagner