Dear Friends in Christ,
What a strange and unusual time we are living in as individuals, as a world, and as the Church! It is a time of much turmoil, stress, and fear. Yet it may also be that this time, with Christ helping us through the power of the Holy Spirit, becomes a time of re-focusing on what really matters in life and for faith. In fact, I’ve already been seeing some of these focusing and refocusing efforts through:
- People taking advantage of less running around to pray and think about their lives and this world and their priorities.
- The mobilizing a 2x2 Ministry to connect the Redeemer community (coming soon!)
- Bringing Redeemer overnight into the virtual ministry world and not giving up on improving the quality and fluency of these efforts (Last Sunday we improved sound with a different microphone and this Sunday we’ll be on Zoom for worship instead of Google Meet - look for forthcoming instructions in our e-newletter!).
- Connecting to wider community efforts to help our neighbors (see last week’s newsletter, the bottom half of the invitation to Lenten Weds, and this week’s e-newsletter as well)
We are not the first communities in history to be invited to focus and re-focus our priorities. In writing to the people of Rome during the infancy of their lives as Christians, the apostle Paul encouraged them to set aside their differences and to be united in core beliefs and matters of faith. At one point in his letter Paul writes, “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding.” (Romans 14:19) Yes, yes, thank you St. Paul! Let us pursue what makes for peace and mutual upbuilding during this tumultuous time brought about by Covid-19. Let us re-focus on what really matters so that we grow strong not only for this time, but for the time when we can leave our houses again and re-join our neighbors on the streets and in the sanctuary at Redeemer!
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By God in Christ the times of greatest struggle can also be times of enormous creativity and leaps forward; when we join together as communities and a world to focus our collective energies for the good and for God. And People of God at Redeemer, New Paltz, I know we can do this together. I give thanks for each and every one of you every day, and I am praying and trusting that we as a church community will be part of Christ’s resurrection work afoot in the world during these strange and unusual times!
Let's keep in touch virtually and please keep letting me and each other know what we can collectively do to support this work of "peace and mutual upbuilding!"
Pastor Tobias Anderson