Wednesday, April 29

Good morning church!

Yesterday I shared with you the story of Kelly J.’s wedding, prompted by her mother Joy’s birth announcement of Kelly’s second daughter (another grandchild for Joy and Eric!).  I mentioned that Kelly is a wonderfully creative writer; but then, after I had already sent off the email I thought that was a pretty lame understatement. Kelly has been publishing books for years now, mostly in the Young Adult Fiction genre. So I looked up her website. It gives you a much better picture of her accomplishments. In a relatively small church (we are not THAT small, you know!) we share both joy and sorrow together, and we are proud of the accomplishments of Kelly who grew up in our church and in the North Penn community. She was drawn to writing at a young age. You can learn more about her on her personal website. Just google Kelly Ann Jacobson books and you will find it.

“Kelly Ann Jacobson is the author or editor of many published books, including novels such as Cairo in White, the poetry collection I Have Conversations with You in My Dreams, and anthologies such as Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction. She also writes young adult speculative novels under her pen name, Annabelle Jay. Kelly received her MA in Fiction at Johns Hopkins University, and is now working toward her PhD in Fiction at Florida State University. Her work—including short stories published in such places as Northern Virginia Review and Iron Horse Literary Review.”

Kelly Jacobson

Today I’d like to give some credit to a man who has sometimes been maligned or made fun of, mostly because of the old human sin of jealousy and envy. (At least that’s what I believe.) In the 1980’s and 1990’s, in the heydays of the Microsoft Company, there were at least ten new jokes annually about Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft and then the richest man on the planet (by far). And of course Apple aficionados would take to those jokes with special relish. In a way it was easy to dislike Bill Gates. He was not a charismatic visionary like his rival and counterpart Steve Jobs. He was a nerd who knew how to run a business and make money, lots of it, and some of it by using his elbows to push others out (a specialty of Capitalism). We don’t always appreciate our tycoons; we see their faults clearly and the Social Justice instincts of church people are set in motion. Tell me the name of any of America’s many tycoons over the last 200 years and you can make a pretty extensive list of social injustices committed, directly or indirectly. But I am getting away from the point I want to make. I want to say: give credit to Bill Gates for using his money wisely. Not everybody does. Once the richest man in the world, he is now, with his wife Melinda, the biggest philanthropist in the world (by far), and it’s a role that he sincerely embraces and enjoys. He doesn’t need more money. He wants to make a difference in the world. And in this Coronavirus crisis he is one of the bright spots. In 2015, during the first Ebola scare in West Africa, he predicted a pandemic that the world wasn’t ready for. And these days he is collaborating with organizations globally, and he’s funding efforts worldwide to find a vaccine. He has been maligned again recently, accused of trying to profit from this crisis, even inducing the virus in the first place, which is frankly ridiculous and shameful. But conspiracy theories will always be a distraction and source of self-importance for some. Because the gospel so intensely and repeatedly warns against the sin of  greed (Jesus: You cannot serve God and money!), we sometimes tend to be judgmental of those who “have made it big,” to use an expression I don’t actually like. But we ought to give credit when people give back, give freely, and want to use their resources to make the world a better place. Thank you, Bill Gates!

As the world around us continues to change, our conversations in staff and council continue about possible re-opening scenarios. That time will come and it will not be an immediate return to what we would call normalcy.  It may be that we will need to take reservations for limited church seating for a while, to honor the social distancing rules that will likely be with us for a while.  It will be interesting, but as I have said so many times, we will get through this together. 

We are also planning another drive-through at church for Mother’s Day, which will be Sunday, May 10. We will give out little biodegradable bags with flower seeds and markers for your yards and gardens to grow flowers in memory of your mother. We also invite you to email us a nice picture of your mom, please. Lisa will print those pictures and we will set them up in our sanctuary for the May 10 service and have some of the recording done against the background of all those special people in our lives and a picture show with music. Please send them to us perhaps with a picture of you as well (optional)!   

Our weekly Thursday Bible Study will take place again tomorrow at noon. Please join us via Zoom. The material is attached. We will study the final chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians and will decide which book we want to tackle next.  Brian Brenfleck is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting. Join Zoom Meeting

This is the last call for “baby Stuff” from the Wunder family. If you know someone in need, please let me know!

For today I invite you to pray with me for my nephew and godson Lukas W. and his family, more specifically for his newborn child. They live in Stuttgart. Charlotte was born a few months ago in January – their first child and great joy in their lives. It has now become apparent and confirmed that Charlotte was born deaf. She didn’t react to any of the tests. Today Lukas and his wife Mona are driving to the city of Ulm to a special clinic to see whether she could benefit from an implant. It is, of course, a very shocking development and one that is hard to deal with. Lukas and Mona are both wonderful young people, and I am sure they will do the best they can to care for their daughter. Some of you met Lukas on our 2018 trip to Europe. He joined us for a day when we went on our day trip to the Alsace region.  

I hope you have a wonderful day.

Be blessed and be safe! Pastor Andreas Wagner