What’s Going On?

It has been a long year of changes and transitions. The pandemic has raged for over a year now, with many dead, countless others sick, turning our normal lives upside down. There is political and cultural turmoil in our nation. And now, this church community is in the search for a new pastor.

We have all had to pivot multiple times to meet the new challenges that confront us every day. This has left some unsettled, anxious, and struggling to cope, trying to make sense of the big changes we continue to face. Others have stepped up to the opportunity after assessing what is important and what is eternal.

We are here as a church community because we sense that, with God at our side and leading our actions, our future will be better and is indeed secure. We are faithful in knowing God is guiding our efforts and that through the trials of these fairly momentous transitions, our ties of togetherness will be strengthened and our efforts to do God’s work in this community will thrive.

A big part of our angst has been that we don’t see each other regularly, if at all. We haven’t been able to be together. Community frays when it is not powered by our face-to-face fellowship, the sharing of our lives, togetherness in worship and, of course collectively enjoying coffee and treats.

And so, the church is eagerly anticipating a return to normal in-person worship services on Sundays. And that day is arriving soon! Stay tuned for an announcement.

With God, we do not proceed alone, nor without resources. We have hope, we have each other, we have a long tradition of serving others. This church comes together for a common journey to love and serve God and each other. Our coming together in this church community to help and support each other and the hurting members of the community, is vivid evidence of our hope, faith and love.

Looking forward, a brighter day will dawn. Let me also encourage all of you to take time for self-care. We must love and take care of ourselves in order to be able love and take care of others. As they say on airplane flights, back in the day, put on your own oxygen mask first before assisting another who may need help. We are on our own journeys through life, so put focus there while respecting and assisting the journeys of others.

Prayer of Hope 

Dear God in Heaven, in quietness we come to you and ask for your Spirit.

We ask this especially for the time of waiting still required of us as we hope and strive for light to come into people’s hearts, for light to shine where there is so much death.

We must not despair of our inner life even when life around us rages, as if it would suck us down into its whirlpool.

But you will guard us. Watch over us, we pray, that we may remain under your care.

Watch over us so that we have hope and joy in you, assured that your goal for us all is true life from above, a life of resurrection.

Amen.

(by Christoph Blumhardt, German theologian and pastor, 1842-1919)

 

Boulder Gun Violence

We have been talking about gun violence in this church for a long time. We’ve prayed about it, yelled about it, argued about it, cried about it. Some of you are more shaken by the events in Boulder last week, because of the proximity. Some of you, I’m afraid, are rather numb and overwhelmed by this ongoing evil, proximity be damned. Some of you are still hiding behind ‘mental health’ and other excuses, giving a wave to ‘common sense gun laws’ but knowing all along that such legislation is impossible in our current chaos.

Owning and using a gun is one thing. Addiction to guns, as toys or tools, as symbols or social statements, is quite another. And that is sin. Addiction to anything is sinful, but there is no cultural manipulation around normalizing drunk driving or making child pornography some mark of virtue. With guns, there exists such a twisted idea of the 2nd amendment – even twisting Antonin Scalia’s own clear position that the constitution does not protect the right to bear assault weapons like the one used in Boulder, and Atlanta, and Orlando, and Parkland, and Las Vegas, and Aurora, and Sandy Hook – somehow, this tribalized glorification of gun culture has run roughshod over the 2nd commandment. That one, you might remember, is “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Our country is awash in sin, and guns as some signpost for do-what-I-want freedom is high up the list. There was a greater sense of freedom that used to matter to the American story, and an even holier sense of freedom that Jesus leans on, but these days, guns and masks and defending police brutality all seem to orbit around this childish commitment to you-can’t-tell-me-what-to-do. And how interesting that telling others what they can and can’t do with their bodies or their love or their protests about racialized violence, somehow seems to orbit in that same sphere…

Obviously what happened to the 10 victims in Boulder is sin. Obviously the trauma that hundreds more witnesses experienced is sin laid upon them. Let’s not lose sight of their very distinct experience of this very dispersed problem. Peace be to them and those who love them.

And just as obvious is the reach of this problem and the reach of this sin, to every politician and political entity that props up the opportunity and guarantee that this will happen, over and over again. The reach of this sin lands on every person who supports those politicians and entities, whether they be fake non-profits, fake news outlets, or fake cultural brokers that define fake patriotism.

We all live in sin. That is, obviously again, the human condition: something made beautiful that loses its way through a broken world. And we are all called to repent, assured of the grace that pulses through God’s own loving heartbeat. But far more often than personal repentance, the Bible calls for collective redemption. You, individually, are absolutely called to do your soul work, whether it’s in the realm of gun addiction or anger or fear or judgment or whatever. But we, socially, are drawn by a God of good news, to have a reckoning. We are called to move past our kneejerk reactions of sides and fairness and false equivalencies, and move to envisioning and embodying hope for a better world. We are called to overturn and erase any ideology that serves to prop up suffering, even if that ideology feels like your safe place, especially if that ideology has become such a painful fence between loved ones. We are called to a better world that does not include even the faint rationalizations for this sin of gun violence and gun culture. We are called to healing and new life. May it be so.

 

 

Worship Ahead

Easter is 4 April, where Hansen will borrow a Christmas word, logos, to point to light in the darkness, as a foundation of our world and of our lives.

Then 11 April will be a blended service, shared with about 30 other Presbyterian churches in our region. That service will be shown on www.plainsandpeaks.org, not on our YouTube channel!

And on 18 April, Jim Reed will take over the pulpit!

You can always watch any worship service by going directly to the church’s video channel, or through our website, or connecting via social media.

 

 

New YouTube Channel

Help us out and click here to subscribe to the new Church YouTube Channel. When we get to 100 subscribers, we can lock down a better name than “UC4tGfnE54Bs-7_9UIqzmFrg”! The channel we’ve been using for the last 8 years is going away in a few weeks, so this will be the best way to keep up with worship videos!