Shenandoah District Connection
Wind of the Spirit,
What Does This Mean?
May 28, 2020
From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; from his dwelling place he watches all who live on earth—he who forms the hearts of all, who considers
everything they do (Psalm 33:313-15, NIV).
From the Desk of District Executive Minister John Jantzi

This meditation is another in the series of reflections leading up to Pentecost Sunday. The theme is taken from  Acts 2:12,  where the question was asked, “what does this mean,” by those who observed the coming of the Holy Spirit. The coming reflections will include a variety of folk throughout the District.

Individuals and pastors have requested the District put together a concise list of best practices for congregational worship and potential reopening of congregations. A committee has been established comprised of doctors and a pastoral representative, along with the District Executive and legal counsel, to create such a document. This document will draw from and respect established guidelines and procedures. This best practice document will be reviewed by additional groups of people prior to its release for congregational use. We will publish these guidelines, along with explanation and overview, tomorrow, May 29th in the Daily Connection.

For this next period, we have revised the publishing schedule to allow District Office staff time to assist in the construction of a new website. The revised schedule will be published June 1st in the Daily Connection.
Call to Worship
Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

Hear this invitation from Jesus:
“Are you tired?
Worn out?
Burned out on religion?
Come to me.
Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest.
Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.
Keep company with me
and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Source: re-worship
Christian Community and Proximity

“What does this mean?” Isn’t that question the beginning of real living? The non-rhetorical, I-don’t-already-know-the-answer question. Our real questions can be as basic as Do I go east, or do I go west. Now we are asking: If I do this, will someone get sick? Will someone lose their livelihood? Might someone die?

I’m reading Church of the Brethren history now and the old Brethren had different worship patterns. They loved worshipping together, but limitations imposed by geography and time meant they were unable to meet in congregational worship for weeks and months at a stretch. Still, they maintained a love for the body, the Brethren. They cherished one another. By their example we see that Christian community is more than physical proximity.

What about us? What does this time of pandemic and worry of contagion mean for our communion? This is a “What does this mean?” opportunity out of which new understandings are bound to emerge. As with birth, there will be labor pains.

Here’s an example of what I mean. I saw where Rabbi David Wolpe wrote of Covid-19, “I suppose the whole world is sitting Shiva.” Shiva is the Jewish practice of staying at home for seven days following the burial of a first degree relative. Observant Jews spend these seven days mourning their loved one. During Shiva, people are separated from the normal patterns and relationships of life.

Job seems to be sitting Shiva following the death of his children and a host of personal calamities. For seven days friends gather to comfort him; it was the tradition. Following these days, Job proceeds to ask the “What does this mean?” question with such intensity and fury that his friends become exasperated, even angry, with him. They lecture him about God’s ways. Even so, by the end of the story it is Job we admire. We find God chastising the friends who thought they were speaking on God’s behalf. It is Job – grieving, angry, frustrated – who speaks “what is right” of God.

“Sitting Shiva,” mourning and enduring the pain of loss, is not simply a period of doing nothing. The experience of loss leads to reordering. Lately, I hear calls that instead of pausing during this pandemic, what we really need is a “reset.” I like the move toward action in that statement, but I wonder if Job’s experience doesn’t reveal some presumption in it: Reset to what? What are we returning to? What is the reset?

Right now, most of us want to return to “church” and worship as we knew it Sunday, March 8. If we do that, though, will we have really explored the question, “What does this mean?” What does it mean to kindle a faith community apart from a meeting house or large gatherings? What are we letting go of to receive the something new God is doing in our midst?

The New Testament calls forth a church, an assembly, which has a corporate identity even when it is not in one place together. Is this a time for us to rekindle faith like that? A faith that does not substitute proximity for genuine communion.
Come through the gate of joy and hope, moving into the world that needs to hear the words of peace. Go in peace to all God’s people, bringing good news of Christ’s abundant love for them. AMEN.

In Our Prayers
We remember the family of Round Hill Church of the Brethren Pastor Bev and Ricky Funkhouser in the loss of Bev's brother, Frank Feher, last week.

We continue to pray for Tim Sites during his continued hospitalization. Tim is interim pastor at Leake’s Chapel.

Prayers also continue for Jack Haddock, pastor of Trinity, as he recovers at home from a recent hospitalization.

Prayers for Dot Mellott continue, as well. She is hospitalized at Martha Jefferson. Dot is interim pastor at Waynesboro Church of the Brethren.
Releases from AC Moderator Paul Mundey
Today's Meditation submitted by:
David Miller
Pastor, Montezuma Church of the Brethren

Call to Worship and Benediction submitted by:
Shenandoah District Executive Minister

Call to Worship:
Benediction :
New International Version  (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by  Biblica, Inc.®  

Today's photo courtesy of Brenda Sanford Diehl
If you have questions about the Daily Connection, contact:
Director of Communications
Shenandoah District Church of the Brethren
P.O. Box 67
Weyers Cave, Va. 24486
(540) 234-8555
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