Wednesday, May 13

Good morning church,

I am a little bit behind in my work for the week. That is because yesterday afternoon our water heater, just seven years old, decided to burst at the seams and spill 50+ gallons of water on our basement floor, which thankfully is still just concrete. It took me a couple of hours to collect the water, beach towel style, and carry tub after tub upstairs to dump it outside. The water heater was still under warranty and will be replaced free of charge, but the mess is ours and the big powerful fans set up by a remediation company have been humming all night. I can hear them as I type. This must be the 6th or 7th water incident we have had in our house since 2005, and we have asked ourselves at times whether there is a curse on such things in this place…  Is there? Or is it just bad workmanship, design, and material? I let you decide, and no more about that. Don’t get me started…

I read and prayed over a passage from Isaiah this morning that most of you are well familiar with: “A voice of one calling ‘In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our Lord.’” (Isaiah 40:3) Of course, you have heard those words before. You heard them likely sometime in the month of December during advent because this text reappears in the gospels in connection with John the Baptist and has become part of the spiritual language of the pre-Christmas season. I remember being introduced to the later chapters of the Book of Isaiah in my first year of college/seminary and being intrigued by the hopeful images that abound between chapters 40 and 66. They still are very meaningful to me, including this mysterious call to pave a way for God through the wilderness, our wilderness. What is your wilderness these days? I assume there are all kinds of wilderness scenarios during this quarantine time, from people who are overwhelmed to people who are bored, from people who are deeply worried about their financial situation to people who can wait it out in a safe place. Yet, despite our vastly different personal situations, there still is a sense that we are in this together.  Nobody is not affected in some way. And the experience of this “wilderness time” may yet provide an opportunity for us to rediscover ourselves in more important ways. Just look at how often new beginnings in the Bible begin in the wilderness. Even creation started in chaos! So please, let us pray that we the people will be found listening when God is trying to create something new among us. That’s one of my constant prayers during this time.         

In our staff meeting yesterday we were able to do some worship planning, which we hadn’t done in some time, going as we were from week to week in this brave new world. We decided to feature different groups from within our church in our church service recordings. We also decided to offer a virtual communion once a month. I do not want to do it every week, as I consider it a “crutch,” something that will help us through these times but not quite the same as Holy Communion in a church setting with the whole community around you. I hope it was meaningful to many of you to do this past Sunday. I am including in my emails the themes for upcoming Sundays and events now. May 17, we will feature our deacons in various roles in the church service. They are normally very involved in worship and have been on the sidelines since mid-March. I think they miss being an active part of worship.  

Today is the first day of our Wednesday Food Drives. Remember, we changed it from Fridays to Wednesdays because Manna on Main Street is closed every other Friday for cleaning now. You can bring your bags with food donations to church between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. today and place them on Lisa’s pick-up truck.

Tomorrow’s Bible Study will be about the second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Galatians. You can find the material in the attachment. These Zoom Bible studies are absolutely open to everyone. Feel free to join us tomorrow at noon.  Here is the invitation…

On Saturday at 11:30 a.m. there will be a graveside service for our dear friend and long-time church and choir member Lois G. As so many services these days, it will be a small family group gathering at Union Cemetery to give tribute to a great and gracious lady. If you knew Lois well, you may send a card to her daughter Kirsten Fullerton. She will pass it on to the other Geehr children. Contact the church for the address.

Today are the birthdays of Mark B. and Matt P. Happy birthday, chaps!

Be blessed and be well! Pastor Andreas Wagner

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