• Excerpt from October, 2020 "The Mountain Top Messenger" newsletter...

    God Blessings to all of you as you read this October newsletter, I pray it finds you well. With it being October already I find myself rapidly preparing for winter and realizing that in just a few short weeks I will have to start preparing for Advent...

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October 2020 "The Mountain Top Messenger" Newsletter
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God Blessings to all of you as you read this October newsletter, I pray it finds you well. With it being October already I find myself rapidly preparing for winter and realizing that in just a few short weeks I will have to start preparing for Advent. As I was starting to write this most recent version I was looking around my office contemplating what to write, I looked at my bulletin board and notice that the last church calendar that I have posted was March. It reminded me of those things you see every now and then, an example might be the clock on the Titanic that stopped when the ship sank. Or a calendar page found in the rubble of the World Trade Center from September 11th. The only real difference is I don't know of any particular time or exact date when this current world changing event occurred, some say January in Wohan, China, other say February when the first case was detected in the USA. Others say March, because that is when the lockdown began. Regardless of what date you pick, we have all been impacted by this latest event. And I am guessing what many people, including myself are considering is, how long, and what permanent changes it will bring to our lives. We already have more temporary changes than I think any of us could have imagined back in January, February, or March. I just look at the things that have changed around here. Who would of thought in this short period of time that the internet would become our many way of offering a worship experience to our people? Who would have thought that we couldn’t meet in the narthex before worship and say hi, or gathered after for coffee and cookies? I am probably not the only one who longs for a potluck. We are now looking at beginning an online Sunday school program. And following the closing of the school system this week we are now looking at conducting confirmation classes via Zoom. I have limited my home visits, I feel most of our shut-ins are being safe and social distancing, it is myself that I worry about, I do not want to be the one who shares this virus with others and through the normal course of my duties, while I follow as many safety practices as possible, probably have more contact with others many of you. So with all that being said, what's the plan?

Well, I will continue to carry on and faithfully share the Gospel and rightly administer the sacraments. In the past three weeks I have performed two baptisms, and a wedding. All while practicing the three "W"'s, washing my hands regularly, wearing my mask, and watching my distance. We will continue to offer Sunday morning in person services, while practicing those same 3 W's, we will continue with our live and recorded services available on our Website, YouTube channel, Facebook page, and app. We will hopefully within the next few weeks be initiating a Sunday school online, I also hope to have a Zoom session going for confirmation. We are planning on having confirmation service for last years 8th Graders on October 25, Reformation Sunday, it is yet to be determined if that will be during service or a private service after. I am also within the next few weeks going to be looking at doing a separate children's video message once or twice a month and that may be in conjunction with Sunday school. We are still working on improving the sound balance on streaming and also trying to incorporate the congregational responses and singing.

With all that being said you might ask, so what do we do? How long do we keep this up? How long do we wait? Well, it may sound like a simple answer to complex question, but we wait as long as we have to. As Christians we sometimes forget that as Christians, that is what we are called to do. Not necessarily to wait to go back to church, or to enjoy coffee and cookies, or an occasional potluck. But we are called to wait for the glorious return of our savior Jesus Christ. We like generations of Christians before wait for that day when "...the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first." (1 Thessalonians 4:16). All the other stuff, that stuff going on around us each and every day. It's just stuff. It is what goes on in fallen, sinful, world. And while we do our best to cope with it, we must always remember, while we are in the world, we are not of the world. We are Lord's and as long as we are his, as long as we have built our faith on that rock of Christ's church, Christ himself has assured us "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it". (Matthew 16:18b). We are that church, we are the body of Christ. While we are both sinner and saint, we are the Lord's, and He will prevail. Keep the faith, be strong, be steadfast, be enduring, until we are either called home to be with the Lord, or we witness His glorious appearing. Be safe, be healthy, be strong, be not afraid to call on one another for support. Always remember; "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 29:20b)

My friends, the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, the Lord look upon you with favor and give you peace.

In His Service,
Pastor Rick