For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Easter Vigil - How to Spend an Hour in Prayer
You may contact Pastor Dave directly at email@example.com
PAUSE! I feel like my life is on pause. Bill says he hopes I keep up the pauses. Thanks Bill. This is absolutely weird. What? I drove to my daughters yesterday 36 miles round trip and I felt like I was on a learners permit. It’s been a while. Actually I’m having trouble remembering the days of the week. My Sunday rhythm is gone because my Sundays are gone. Yikes. I hear from my kids a lot. What happened to them? They seem to care more. Face times with my daughter and granddaughters are the highpoint of the day. There are a lot of new questions. Do I touch the newspaper, open the mail, order out, my son says no, my older daughter laughs, and the other one hasn’t weighed in yet. I spend lots of time in the shower. I know, too much information, heck no, it’s the only place I can touch my face, eyes and nose so I’m in heaven. I shut my eyes, lather up and go to town, haha Corona Virus, I can touch my face in here, well maybe. By the way can the virus enter through our ears?
What are you up to? I suspect you have time on your hands. I challenge you to take some time today and send me a note. How are you passing time? What do you miss? What seems weird to you? Will you take the challenge? I can call all of you but that would be boring, and there is a good chance many of you would not answer the phone for one reason or another.
By now I hope you are aware that we at St. Paul’s are trying to find ways to feed and nurture you spiritually during this time and also stay in touch. I hope it is helping. Here’s a summary FYI.
1. The Corona Virus Daily online scripture and prayer will continue to arrive in your in box.
2. Todays’ Lenten lesson on forgiveness, The Cross Frees Us, under the theme Beneath the Cross will arrive today.
3. Sundays’ Service will be posted again this week including music and prayer giving us the opportunity to worship together. Bill says he likes sitting in his living room in his pajamas with a cup of coffee in his hand. Perhaps after we return to the church we should have a Pajama Day Worship Service.
4. Soon a Teleconference Bible Study will be offered. Details coming soo. LOOK FOR IT!
5. It is critical that ALL of us continue to make donations to support the ministry of St. Paul’s. Paying the bills and filling our obligations does not, sadly, go away. Much of the plate offering is lost during this time. You may participate electronically or mail your offerings to the church. The mail is being held at the Post Office and being picked up weekly.
6. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Consider contacting your neighbors to set up a once a week Teleconference Call. You can structure the call to meet the needs of your particular group. It’s easy. For information contact me.
In the meantime your persistent and fervent prayers are encouraged as we move through this time of change, incredible stress and vulnerability with no particular end in sight.
I Thessalonians 5:16-20 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil."
God's Word for Today
A Message from Pastor Dave:
Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy.
You have seen, thought or prayed that many times. Perhaps you used more common language like “oh my God” or “damn, what do I do now?” We all know the feeling in these March Madness Virus days.
When I was a kid we used to play a game called mercy. We would stand facing each other, lock fingers and try to bend the unlucky other’s fingers backward until they screamed, “mercy,” when we would release them from their agony, smirking or signaling our victory. It was a great way to humiliate someone or to make them, well, feel helpless. I don’t ever remember winning. I do remember some were “more merciful” than others by letting go sooner.
Mercy is what we are all looking for in these unfamiliar, difficult and changing times. Along with questions like “what’s next” or “how bad is it going to get” or “when will there be an end to it”, we are asking for help in a time when there doesn’t seem to be much to encourage. Most of us feel pretty helpless to make any significant difference.
A cry for “mercy” catches that emotion. In our worship literature there is a picture of a person kneeling, head bowed, gnarled hands tightly clasped with ropes tied around his wrists in deep prayer. The picture catches very clearly what it means to come before God aware that we are totally in need of his mercy because we can’t possibly save ourselves or get out of some of the situations we find ourselves in. We have felt the sting of sin often, and the release, hope and comfort of mercy through forgiveness undeserved through Christ.
The Old Testament word for “mercy” gives us another apt image for mercy. It is a picture of a mother camel separated from her young who are in great danger.
She can’t get to them so she cries out for help from another source to intervene in their behalf, to deliver them. How often we have seen mercy in the expectation of great tragedy when the expected result ended in a better and unexpected way with no logical explanation.
Asking God for mercy is asking for help when we feel somewhat helpless as we do now. It means trusting and having faith in God’s promises, grasping hold of his promises like “I love you and I will be with you and I will help you and you will get through this time.” It means God is good in his incarnate, I am with you, word, Jesus Christ. It means trusting in the much-of-the-time mystery of God’s mercy that doesn’t make sense to us and we can’t figure out, but which is there for us. Knowing he is “there” gives us encouragement, strength and hope, to face and deal with the “helplessness” we feel and keeps us going, responding and working toward change and recovery.
God had mercy on us went he sent his Son to live, love, die and rise when we did not deserve it, to make us his sons and daughters. God’s mercy gives us a new day every day. God’s mercy gives us opportunities in this time to help and support others. God’s mercy blesses our efforts to fight and work together against the challenges and for the changes coronavirus is bringing. God’s mercy reminds us that the coronavirus is not a punishment or condemnation of God on our world. God’s mercy is at work in and through the hands, hearts, minds and efforts of all those all over the world working together to get us through this time.
Feeling helpless? Pray Lord have mercy, which means fill me, guide me, strengthen me, comfort me, give me hope and give me peace during this time of uncertainty, challenge and change.
Psalm 28:6 Praise be to the Lord, for He has heard my cry for mercy.
Dave Betzner serves as our Vacancy Pastor until a new pastor is called. He is celebrating his 50th year in ministry this year having served as Pastor, Vacancy Pastor and an Intentional Interim Pastor.
He spends his free time fishing, bike riding, gardening, and being part of the lives of his 3 children and 8 grandchildren. His wife of 48 years died in 2014.
Pastor Dave has served churches in North Carolina, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.