September 3, 2020
"Search me, O God, and know my heart."
- Psalm 139:23
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!
As we come up to Labor Day, we mark yet another milestone in this pandemic journey. We all hoped life would be getting back to "normal" by now, but instead it seems like we need to get used to this current environment for a while longer.
Where do you turn when your life is uncertain? I have often quoted Corrie Ten Boom in the last few months. I love her reminder, "Don't be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."
Our psalm this week, Psalm 139, is a celebration of our known God and just how much He knows us. He knows our every word before we speak it. He knows where we are, whether soaring in the clouds or hiding in a dark hole. He knows who we are because He knit our bones together in our mother's womb. He knows how much we long to be close to Him, and He also knows how many times we get pulled away. "See if there is any wicked way in me," the psalmist prays, as he lays his heart bare before the Lord. He knows all the good and all the bad; all the past and all the future.
This psalm has stayed with me all my life. I first memorized it as a teenager at youth camp. When I worked for World Vision, verses 9 and 10 echoed in my head every time I took an early morning flight to a far-off country- "If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." During those crazy travel days, several times my flights were changed or diverted even to different countries. After one such diversion, my flight from Angola ended up in Lisbon instead of Brussels, and I remember thinking, "No one on the planet actually knows where I am right now." But I knew that God knew, and I knew He promised to hold me fast.
It feels a lot like the plane we were on got changed and diverted somewhere between 2019 and 2020. This is not the way we imagined 2020 to be. This is not the future we hoped for our school kids or jobs or country. But even in the midst of this change of plans, even in the midst of these struggles, God promises to hold us fast. He knows us, and He knows just what we need.
For the record, after the diversion to Lisbon, I was able to catch a flight directly home to DC rather than having to change planes in New York. After more than 26 hours of travel, I got home 30 minutes before I would have if I had gone through Brussels.
We are still in transit in this season. We don't know where we are going to land. We cannot see the plans God has. He just asks us to trust that He has them. He asks us to trust that He has us in the palm of His hand. May God quickly bring us to exactly where He wants us to be!
~ ANNOUNCEMENTS ~
Learning Support Pod: Starting next week, our church is going to be the hands and feet of Christ as we minister to elementary kids in our community. We are welcoming children into our building to complete their online schoolwork in a safe, supervised, Christian environment while their parents are at work. This program is starting next Tuesday, September 8 and will run Mondays through Fridays from 8 AM-4 PM. We are looking for volunteers to help as kids navigate online learning. We need people with clearances, a friendly smile behind a face mask, and a love of both children and Jesus. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Ashley Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now is a great time to join a small group! We are wrapping up a series on Psalms and starting a new study on Philippians next week. We have small groups meeting online almost every day of the week, and we have groups for Tweeners, Middle School and High School, Young Adults, just women, just men, and coed groups, as well as the Lamplighters Sunday School class. If you are interested in becoming part of one of these groups, please contact us at 412-531-3387 or email@example.comHour of Prayer:
A group of us gather on Zoom every Sunday at 7pm to pray together, and we would love to have you join us! Zoom is now requiring a password for our meetings, so please use this new link (for a computer, tablet, or mobile phone): https://us02web.zoom.us/j/92561964416?pwd=NmZoNDV3dDNqSVFubW82TEx0bll0Zz09
. You can also call in from a regular phone - dial 1-646-558-8656 and enter the Meeting ID - 925 6196 4416 and now add the password 798565. For more info, contact Pat Gaudio at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, please let us know if there is any way we can support you or connect with you during this season. You can email us at email@example.com, with any needs, prayer requests, or just updates on how you are doing. And you are always welcome to call us at 412-531-3387.
Many blessings,Pastor Carolyn
As we plan to gather on-site again for Sunday worship, here's what you can expect with our Covid-19 Safety Precautions:
- We will be following the now familiar practice of social distancing and wearing face masks.
- We will be holding a single service at 10:00 a.m. with a blended worship style, to eliminate the need to clean between services.
- We will continue to livestream the service on Facebook and YouTube and through the Streamspot player on our website. If you are not feeling well, please worship with us online. If you are in one of the highly vulnerable categories, we encourage you to follow CDC guidelines and consider worshipping online as well.
- Please aim to arrive by 9:45am so that you have time to check in and get settled before we start the livestream. Doors will open at 9:15am. We will have greeters to check you in, in case we need to do contact tracing. We will also be taking a couple of photographs of those in attendance, which will only be used if we need to see where you were sitting for contact tracing.
- To reduce the amount of time indoors together, we will be using the side Narthex doors (by Washington Rd.) as the primary entrances to the Sanctuary. The Drive-thru entrance will be open only for those who need the elevator.
- When you enter the building, we will ask you to use hand sanitizer. We will have face masks available at the entrances if you do not have one. Masks are required for anyone over 2 yrs old.
- Ushers will help to seat you when you arrive, using every other pew.
- We will not be passing the Offering Plates during the service but will have them available at the exits to accept your contributions. You can also donate online at mlepc.org.
- Our ushers will dismiss you by rows following the benediction. Visiting with people outside is much safer than lingering inside, so please head outdoors if you would like to talk.
- It is going to be hot in the sanctuary, especially with masks on! You may want to bring a water bottle with you, since the water fountains will not be available. The restrooms near the sanctuary will be open.
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