We ARE the Church
God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam. Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge!
A river brings joy to the city of our God, the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed. From the very break of day, God will protect it.
The nations are in chaos, and their kingdoms crumble! God’s voice thunders, and the earth melts!
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress.
Come, see the glorious works of the LORD: See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth. He breaks the bow and snaps the spear; he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies is here among us; the God of Israel is our fortress. (NLT2)
Sisters and Brothers,
I pray this brief note finds you well, safe, and secure. News continues to be bad on top of bad, (because it is most of what’s being reported), and so if you are feeling overwhelmed, I repeat what I said last time—take a serious news break! If something big happens, you’ll know it. Remember that God is “ALWAYS ready to help in times of trouble.” That certainly includes these current times. I encourage you also, to let your sisters and brothers in Christ help as well. You and I ARE The Church. With Jesus at the head, we ARE Old Bethel. Please find NEW WAYS of loving others and expanding your lovingkindness to new folks. This is the time to let your true love for Christ shine so that others will see Him living in and though you!
I end this email with an inspiring work by Brother Hendrick. Please SLOW DOWN, get comfy, and read this, pray through it, let it have its way in your heart.
Remember to love each other, and sing!
Pastor Rusty <><
p.s. There are NO Message Notes for this week’s sermon. It is intentional.
As scripture says: “Be still, and know that I am God”.
"Lockdown" by Brother Richard Hendrick (reprinted with permission)
Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death.
But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighborhood So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting All over the world people are looking at their neighbors in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing.