Seeing the world through a theological lens...
I've been enjoying meeting, albeit virtually with many of you over the past six weeks or so of quarantine during worship, in small group zoom sessions, and over the phone. Each time we meet I feel the movement of the Spirit in our midst. I am convinced that the only way our congregation will emerge from this pandemic as strong or stronger than we were before is by gathering in small groups during this time. I know, that's a pretty bold statement. Yet, as I watch, listen, and reflect on our community of faith, it is our connection to one another that makes us who we are. We care for each other. We pray for each other. We talk with each other.
In premarital counseling, I frequently caution couples on getting so 'comfortable' that they begin taking each other for granted. I usually say something like, "each day in a relationship we need to wake up and say, 'I choose to love this person today;' and the day we stop doing that, is the day the relationship begins to fall apart." This is true for all of our relationships. When we stop being intentional about reaching out, or getting together, we begin to drift away from one another.
So- this comes as a friendly reminder to be intentional; call someone today. Look for information about new small groups that will be forming over the next few weeks- and join one.
But, this also comes with an invitation. Beginning April 29, I'm going to be hosting a small group called 'Oasis.' Along with checking in, building relationships and praying for one another, we will be focusing on the scripture passage(s) for the coming Sunday. We will look at the background, context, etc., but then just read and reflect together on the passage and how it applies to our lives.
My hope Is that this group becomes a mid-week time of refreshment in a time where we may be feeling spiritually dry. The group will be held via Zoom each Wednesday at 6:30 PM. If you would like to receive an invitation to attend, please click to sign up here. There is also a sign up on he fron page of our website. Class size is limited, so don't wait too long.
I look forward to meeting with each of you in this time of spiritual renewal and refreshment!
Holy Week Feelings
I pray this post finds you well, safe, and surrounded by God's presence. We are never alone! Our FBCM community of faith prays for one another, connects with one another, and supports one another. On days where it seems more difficult, or more isolating than others, I remember each of you- I remember that you are praying for me, and I for you. I remember the bond that keeps us and calls us, a people of God. And then I feel and draw on that strength! I am so grateful for this time together, yet apart.
I hope that you are joining us for virtual worship each Sunday whether on our FaceBook page or on our website. I have especially enjoyed seeing each of you who have created video spots for our services. It is SO good to see you!
We are now into Holy Week, a time for remembering and journeying with Jesus toward the cross. Feelings of sadness, mourning, and despair, even on a 'normal' year, are expected. We read the scriptures depicting the betrayal, the denial, the horror of Jesus's crucifixion, and I don't think we would be human if we didn't feel the depth of sorrow that goes along with those texts. It is a naturally reflective and dark time in the church year and may seem even bleaker in the face of COVID-19 and quarantine.
And as we read, meditate, and pray, there is a desire in us to run from those feelings, and immerse ourselves in something else to distract ourselves; to deflect or even ignore the pain of what we're experiencing.
We want joy to return. We long for light. In our heart of hearts, we yearn for resurrection! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! We need your healing spirit! We need the power of new life!
Those feelings of wanting to skip this week, and run toward Sunday are also real- also valid. But let me encourage you this week, to try to stay in/sit with some of the darker feelings that come up as you journey through the week. Bring those feelings before God through prayer. Name them. Reflect on where you are in those feelings, and also where God is in those feelings. Trust me God is there.
Once you have spent time in prayer, naming, reflecting, locating- then find someone you trust with whom you can share some of those feelings. Let someone know how you're doing and what you're feeling. Let others help affirm and reflect with you.
Paul tells us to bear one another's burdens, and in this way, we fulfill the law of Christ. (Gal. 6:2) Reach out. Don't wait for others to call you, rather pick up the phone, or send an email or text. By doing so, you allow others to enter the dark places with you; and when you do, even your darkest place seems not quite so dark.
Please know that I and the rest of the ministerial staff are here if you want to talk, pray, or even just name the dark you may be feeling. You are not alone.
Peace on your journey,
Rev. Linda Pepe
Loving life, light, and laughter...