Remembering the things that are really important: this is one of the blessings that can come out of tumultuous times like those in which we are currently living. Remembering might sound like a relatively easy activity to pull off, but it can actually require quite a bit of effort.

Paul, in his letter to the fledgling Christian community in Rome, tells them that he is always “remembering them in prayer.” (Romans 1:9) Which might remind us that there’s a difference between merely remembering (bringing something or someone to mind), and taking initiative or doing an actual action of good (such as prayer) for them. Paul was very busy planting Christian communities in multiple locations, but he took time to have this letter written down and delivered so that the gospel efforts of the people of Rome could be encouraged.

These are tough and even agonizing times that we are living through right now. As individuals, families, faith communities, nation, and world we are in the midst of the kind of major historical events that will be written about and considered for years to come. Yet we are living this history right now, laboring through it and seeking to understand from day to day what we should be doing and what this all means; for family, faith community, nation, and world.

We as Church and people of striving faith are desperately needed during these times; to hold space for the tough questions raised and wrestling and interpreting needed. Now, more than ever, we need communities like Redeemer for worship, for Bible Study, to guide and direct our efforts to help the wider community and world, and for laughter at coffee hour and Community Fun Nights. We may be moving in virtual territories now, but the real connections and depth of relationships being built by Christ among us for the sake of the world are more vibrant than ever, thanks be to God.

Dear Friends in Christ,

In Luke's gospel, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and another unnamed woman - all followers of Jesus - are headed to to the tomb to pay their respects to their Lord who they believe to be dead. Yet on that first Easter Day they find, not Jesus' dead body, but the stone rolled away and an empty tomb. Men in "dazzling clothes" suddenly appear and remind them of what Jesus had told them about how he would be raised from the dead. And the women, we hear "remembered."

It is time for us to remember, my friends. It is time to remember that Christ is risen! Christ is risen!

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)

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Redeemer New Paltz,

COVID-19 is causing disruption in every aspect of our modern lives, from health and daily routines, to work and economic stability, and to personal and group connectedness in our worship community.

We are in uncharted territory. As we strive for new and creative ways to worship and keep our congregation together, supported, and connected during these unusual times, we are reminded that God works in mysterious ways and that work never ceases. How can we continue to "Share Christ's Welcome" with our fellow congregants, friends, neighbors, remaining students, as well as those who may be in need?