Pastoral Letter April 21, 2020

In Suspension – Pastoral Letter for This Time #4 April 21, 2020

HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

GOT CONTROL?

Hebrews 12:1-2

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

We continue these ‘In Suspension’ times adapting by using different and new ways, particularly with technology, to ‘do church.’

Even though I have been wanting to use Facebook as I know it can be very helpful and good and enjoyable, I had dragged my feet with reluctance to try to use it partially because even though I feel I am capable of understanding and enjoying much when it comes to science and technology, I fear when it comes to some technologies that I would get myself frustrated trying. Have you seen the cartoon of a person frustrated with the computer and the screen message reads ‘Strike any key?’ The person has a sledge hammer about to strike the computer keys!

Another reason for my reluctance is a perception that rather than controlling it, we might allow it to take control of our lives. There are so many people you want to be connected to and a whole world out there to capture your attention with an endless amount of good little inspiration and or humorous items which I enjoy, which blesses me and unknown numbers of others and I want you to share with me, however there is also much stuff the sheer volume of all of it which can drown you. It seems if you were able to spend every second of every hour and every 24/7 of your life span connected to your device you would still not be able to see and read everything sent out to you.

While Facebook has been around for a long time only now in our pandemic situation and Holy Week, have I been willing to tackle the technology. The experience has had its road blocks, hurdles, stumbling blocks, dead in the water moments, two steps forward one step back. I could not have been able even to really start and get to first base without the remote help of Kurt Schultz.

He was using his computer at home while I opened the church’s laptop computer at my home. (I think I feel a sermon idea developing now!) You see, I had to surrender control of my laptop over to him. At first, I just sat there and tried to follow on the screen while the cursor pointer quickly darted back and forth, up and down my screen. He was doing his thing to get my computer set up and then teach me so I eventually would be able to follow on my own in his steps. From there with each step of my doing the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and then Easter service I made major progress. (See where I am going with this?) I was ‘a boat dead in the water’ not able to do the technology and ministry I wanted on my computer until I was willing to call on someone who had already, you might say, ‘pioneered’ the technology, someone who went ahead knowing how it works. Now that I had let him take control and help me through my frustrating roadblocks, I have accomplished a victorious milestone. I still have much to learn but feel good about making progress.

When it comes to our spiritual life, I sometimes try to control all by myself then get upset with God and myself with the feeble failed attempts. It should not be surprising I have to keep myself surrendering to let God have control and when I do, behold, victory! I highlight the phrase from the above cited Hebrews verses, verse 2a: looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,”

God sent His Son Jesus as our ‘pioneer and perfecter’ in faith.’

There are continual changes with advances made in our human life but God offered His Son who knew our human condition. Our condition in need of His control and His love.

Jesus was often called a ‘Good Teacher.’ There is a saying that a teacher does a task and the student observes. Then the teacher and learner do the task together. Then the student does the task on their own. And then former student becomes the new teacher. Jesus has modeled for us teaching the will of God. He did it with the disciples. Then he sent them out into the world to do God’s will and teach others/us to pass on the faith. Of course, a difference with the ‘I do, we do together, then you do’ is that even though we are now sent out to be and do God’s will, God has not left us really alone and on our own to do life. We remember his promise given with the Great Commission: “…,I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

So, let us forge ahead in these times knowing every second of every hour, every 24/7, and every life span is in his loving care and direction.

We have a ‘pioneer’ who went before us and is still with us through it all. We have a living God and risen Lord and His Holy Spirit. Let us ‘persevere in the race set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.’ Let Him who loves and saves you have control.

The Lord bless and keep you,

Pastor Sherman

 

 
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