ARLINGTON CHRISTIAN CHURCH
(Disciples of Christ)

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From the Pastor's Desk

 


Lee.jpg Happy Mother's Day.

We have missed eight Sundays of community worship, and the odds are not good that we will see each other on Mother's Day, May 10.  So I wish all of you women a Happy Mother's Day.  Just like everything else that we have endured in the last couple of months, our Mother's Day celebrations will be different from what we are accustomed to.

Being a mother, or a father, is a great responsibility.  Mothers are called on not only to bring a new life into the world, but to give that life the best chance possible to become productive and faithful.  Being a mother is not just about teaching your child what things are wrong to do, more importantly, it is about teaching your child what things are right to do.  A lot of mothers feel like they have failed as a mother because their child did not grow up the way they wanted them to.  But all you can really do is give them all of the love you can, and pray that they will let God be their guide.

You know, if you look at the human race as a whole, God could be accused of failing to raise his children right.  Everywhere you look, including in the mirror, you find people who do not follow God's will.  From the beginning of Biblical time, God had dealt with rebellious children.  Even the heroes of the Bible, with the exception of Jesus, were far from perfect.  But God continued to love us.  Good Mothers continue to love their children when they grow up to be far from perfect, also.

So for all of the stress, the tears, and the energy you put into raising your children, THANK YOU.

The good news is, that instead of getting jewelry, because jewelry stores are closed, you may be getting wine, beer, or bourbon, because the liquor stores are open.  You have no place to wear the jewelry anyway, so now you can drink to help the time pass while being locked up in your own home.  (My mom just thought, "I failed.")

Worship Will Resume on May 24.

After ten weeks' vacation (haven’t you enjoyed this break as much as time resting on a beach?), we will once again be allowed to gather to worship Our Lord and Savior - in our sanctuary.   There will no Sunday School.

As I said weeks ago, I am relieving anyone who is reading, singing, playing, or serving from their duties -- so you shouldn’t feel obligated to be in worship.  Beginning that week, I will not be posting a worship video on Saturday.  Instead, a video of our morning service will be posted at some point Sunday afternoon.

If you have worshiped with me over time, you know that occasionally ask questions.  So, I am going to continue this article with a question.

What happened to the flu this year?

Back in January, Dr. Fauci, was saying that this could be the worst flu season since 2017-2018, which was the worst in 40 years.  And since then, almost nothing has been mentioned about the flu.  I got on the CDC website, and according to the CDC (these are estimates for the flu season between October 1, 2019, and April 4, 2020) there have been:

Between 39,000,000 and 56,000,000 flu illnesses in the United States.
Between 18,000,000 and 26,000,000 flu medical visits.
Between 410,000 and 740,000 flu hospitalizations.
Between 24,000 and 62,000 flu deaths.

The CDC cut off reporting on the flu as of the week of April 4.  This sounds to me like a pretty major medical problem.  I don't think these numbers are very much different from what we face every single year.  And we have come to accept this as just a part of life.

But this year the flu was taken off the headlines.  This year there was a new bad-boy to report on.  You know what I'm talking about.  Another test of our strength and faith.

More questions:  Where does that leave us, as Christians?  Are we supposed to turn away from God, thinking that God has abandoned us and the world?  Or do we turn toward God to save us?  Does God even play a role in human suffering?

I think it was April 20 that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this in his daily briefing:  "The number is down because we brought the number down.  God did not do that.  Faith did not do that.  Destiny did not do that.  A lot of pain and suffering did that."  I think this is the belief of a lot of these governors and mayors who see themselves as little-g gods, the omnipotent saviors of their people.

This global Covid-19 crisis has disoriented the lives of people all over the world.  But God is still with us.  God is still leading the way through this crisis.  But it does test our beliefs.  One of the things so many Christians believe is that having faith in God will keep us out of trouble.  And yet, Jesus told us that not only would our suffering be the same as other people's, but there would be times when our suffering would be greater than other people's.

Something like this Covid-19 pandemic causes people to realize our mortality.  Many people are facing a very high level of anxiety in their lives.  We don't know about our future, and it scares us.  We find ourselves in the wilderness, biblically speaking, and that is a very uncomfortable place.

Moments in the wilderness can make us feel very close to death.  They can make us feel abandoned and alone, and even forgotten by God.  It's not just ourselves and our own problems, but it's also our concern for the other people who we know are going through the same things.  We have to remember that moments in the wilderness are also where we can meet God.  And it is in the wilderness that we discover that God provides.

In Genesis 16, when Sarah convinced Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael out into the wilderness, it was God who provided for them and kept them alive.  In the book of Exodus the large grouping of Israel was in the wilderness, and it was God who provided for them.  They didn't have a luxurious amount, but they had more than what they needed.

I think we can relate to that.  We have lost many of our comforts, and we don't feel like we have control of our lives.  It can be quite difficult to find God working in such a situation.

A majority of the people in our congregation are retired.  We still have our Social Security checks coming in, and pension payments are still coming in.  Other than some restrictions on shopping and visiting, not much has really changed in our lives.  But there are over 30 million people in the United States who have lost their jobs because of the government’s reaction to this pandemic.  When you think about their families, that means there are probably 50 to 75 million people directly affected by a loss of income.  Some will get their jobs back soon.  But many others will permanently lose their jobs or the small businesses that they have worked for years to keep open.

Like Hagar, and like the people of Israel, we had a life that may have not been the best life in the world, but it was one we thought we could count on.  It was comfortable because it was familiar.  But then we find that life disrupted.  We would not be the first people to question God's presence and motives in our lives.  The people of Israel wondered if God had brought them out into the desert to abandon them and to kill them.  I'm sure many people in the world look at Covid-19 and wonder if God created it to kill them.

To us, it seems improbable that God would put us through hard times just to bring us closer to him.  I'm sure the people of Israel, when they were in the wilderness, felt the same way.

Use this time to accept God more closely in your lives.  Use this time to see God working in the world around you.

Bro. Lee

P.S. How many of you will not come to church until you have had a trip to the salon?  See you on May 24.



PREVIOUS NOTE FROM THE PASTOR



God Is With Us!

Easy to say.  Not so easy to believe sometimes.  So, how are you doing?  Really?  Me, too.

Actually, I am still living and working an almost normal schedule, except no personal visits.  And, there is that no-church-service thing.  For March 22, I video recorded a service and posted it on Facebook.  Watch it if you have nothing better to do.  You can watch most of our complete worship services since last September on Facebook.  As a bonus this month, you get a six-page Arlingtonian -- the last four pages are the script for the March 22 service.  (Remember, it is a script to preach from, not an English term paper.)  I plan to record and post a weekly service on Saturdays for your Sunday worship, if you choose to watch.

I am not sure when we will resume our normal worship schedule.  When we do, for those who are involved in the service in some way, it will be up to you if you want to come.  We will make allowances for whoever is not here - including musicians, elders, deacons, or readers.

I am not sure if we will back for Easter.  If you ordered Easter lilies or tulips, they probably will not be ordered from the florist.  Your money will be refunded.

I don’t know why I always hate to mention money, because it is important to the life of the church.  Even though we are not having Sunday worship, our financial needs are almost unchanged.  Please remember to make up for lost offering opportunities when you return.  You may also mail in your offering to the church.  Arlington Christian Church; 1206 N. Limestone St.; Lexington, KY 40505.

The called Congregation meeting for March 29 is being postponed (obviously).  We will let you know when the new meeting date will be.

Other meetings are also being rescheduled.  You will be notified about them as well.

Keep up your prayers for yourselves, our church, and others.

Continue to prepare yourselves for Easter.  It will come regardless of world events.  If God loves us enough to die on the cross for us, we can return that love, by spreading that love to all of God’s children.

Have a Happy Easter.

Brother Lee