Online Worship @ 10am – A Word From Steven

Posted: Sat, Mar 14, 2020
A Word from Steven on Video https://vimeo.com/397582607 The most frequent phrase in the Bible is “Fear not.” The phrase “Fear not” appears 365 times – once for each day of the year. It’s hard and even unrealistic these days to not have fear. The challenge is to prevent fear from having us. Perhaps our most [...]

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A Word from Steven on Video https://vimeo.com/397582607

The most frequent phrase in the Bible is “Fear not.” The phrase “Fear not” appears 365 times – once for each day of the year.

It’s hard and even unrealistic these days to not have fear. The challenge is to prevent fear from having us. Perhaps our most important spiritual practice at the moment is to not be our fears. When fear takes over and we become overwhelmed by fear, wisdom and compassion don’t stand a chance. And wisdom and compassion are needed now more than ever.

In this challenging time, let’s not fold into fear but lean into love and hold each other with the same tender grace that God holds us. Let’s remember we belong to God and in belonging to God we belong to each other, and we will get through this and become stronger together.

Scripture says we are to love our neighbor and bear one another’s burdens. The best way to lift ourselves right now is to lift up each other.

First and foremost, at a time like this, we must follow the example of Jesus and lead with love. Central to following the way of Jesus is caring for the most vulnerable and at risk.

It is clear that social distance is needed for a time to slow down the spread of this virus saving lives and preventing our medical systems from becoming overwhelmed. As you know, my wife Laurie was in the ICU for a month and a ventilator saved her life. There is a fear of a shortage of ventilators right now. For those of us who are healthy, it is our moral and spiritual obligation to protect and care for those most vulnerable and at risk.  If we can disrupt our lives for a time and make sacrifices that will lessen the suffering of others, why wouldn’t we?

Starting this Sunday, and for at least a month, we will not be gathering together physically for any of our regular worship services.

We will gather together through an online worship experience at 10am. You simply need only go to our church website – Bendfp.org – to join.

We’re not cancelling church. We’re the church -you and me. We’re just going to relate to one another…connect with one another in a different way for a while. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean spiritual distancing. This Sunday I’m going to talk about managing our fears. Invite others to join you online.

We’re also going to close our building to any non-essential activity for a minimum of two weeks.

The pastoral team and the Deacons and the Session are going to work really hard over the next few weeks to keep us connected, to make sure we care for each other.

Please check in on each other. Call, text, drop a note. You’d be surprised how a message or phone call can pull some one out of overwhelming anxiety reminding them they’re not alone.

Please contact your Pastors if your aware of any needs for yourself or others.

I trust that in a few months our nation and our world will have weathered this storm – and no one will remember that we didn’t hold worship as usual for a few weeks – but we will remember how we came together, leaned into and led with love, and cared for each other; how we didn’t allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by fear but chose kindness and goodness. We will remember that in an uncertain moment the church decided to trust God – follow Jesus – and help lead the way with love.

As we continue this unique “Lenten” journey, remember – new life always begins in the dark – whether it be a seed in the ground, a baby in the womb or Jesus in the tomb – new life always begins in the dark.

I am praying daily for you, for us, for our nation and world.

Fear not. You are not alone. You are loved.

Don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other pastors.

See you online Sunday at 10am.

As always, so very grateful to serve you and join you leaning into and leading with love.