A MESSAGE FROM OUR PASTOR
Another week has come and nearly gone, while the concern over the growth of the pandemic continues unabated. By now, many of us have become somewhat accustomed to hearing the daily statistics of confirmed cases and resulting deaths with little more than a grim sigh and a helpless shrug. Indeed, the feeling of helplessness is so pervasive these days that we can easily find ourselves overwhelmed to the point of despair. I know there have been times this past week when I have experienced these feelings and I imagine that many of you have as well.
I believe that this is only natural and, in fact, normal. Truth be told, this is not a crisis that we can resolve by doing something bold and dramatic to stem the tide and reverse the course that this disease has taken. Instead, we are often left to silently wonder just where it may be hiding and who may actually have it, even though they have no noticeable signs of its presence. This, I think, is a prescription that easily leads to fear, frustration and feelings of deep helplessness and despair. As much as we would like to “take action,” the action that we can take often seems far too passive.
Yet, “it is what is,” as the saying goes and we have little choice but to address this crisis on the terms of its own choosing rather than our own. If we are to do that, I believe that it is important for us to begin by giving ourselves permission to feel what we feel. It is important to acknowledge that feelings of frustration, fear, helplessness and depression are absolutely normal and natural responses to the crisis that confronts us. Indeed, these feelings are a reflection of the fact that yes, we are human and have human feelings.
While these feelings are real, however, I don’t believe that we must allow them to consume us or control our behavior. Instead, we can make choices to acknowledge their presence while, at the same time, taking the action we can take to rise above and beyond them.
Many of us are finding that one of the best ways that we can do this is by reaching out to friends and family members from whom we are separated. A good phone or Skype conversation can work wonders for our spirits and help to remind us that, when all is said and done, it is the people in our lives that provide the meaning, encouragement and hope that is needed to face even the most difficult of times.
Another positive action can be found in the choice to give a gift to someone who is struggling under the burden of our current economic crisis. Many people are being laid off and many people have had to readjust their budgets in order to navigate this uncertain time. I talked to one of our members who indicated that because she was financially able to do so, she was sending checks with small amounts of money to the people in her orbit (hair dresser, house cleaner, small business owner) whose jobs were being put on hold by the shackled economy. It was simply her way of reminding them that they are not alone and that others were thinking about them. What a great idea!!
While I could go on, I think you get the idea. Yes, this is a difficult and even depressing time, but this does not mean we are hopeless or powerless—in fact, far from it! As people of faith we are reminded that it is precisely in crisis moments like this one, that we have the opportunity to take the action that our faith invites—the action of kindness, compassion and love. And when you think about it, that choice is one that can and will make a difference…all the difference in the world.
Let us remember that “We are the hands and feet of Christ” at work in the world, making God’s love personal and tangible in the witness that we offer.
Grace and Peace,
8:00 AM Meditation and Dialog
10:00 AM Contemporary and Traditional
Newcastle United Methodist Church
410 Buena Vista Avenue, Newcastle, CA 95658
W H A T I F ?
What if there was a Church that:
Actually practiced what it preached…
Valued asking questions just as much as having answers…
Honored the past while embracing the future…
Saved a place for everyone at the table…
Viewed difference not as a threat, but a possibility…
Believed that listening was a prerequisite for learning…
Viewed service to others as essential to its witness…
Chose not to avoid conflict, but to confront it with courage and love…
Was open to new ideas and thinking outside the box…
To be honest, we are not quite there, but we are on our way. This is the kind of Church that we dream about being and the kind of Church that we are committed to becoming. If you would like to help us become the Church we are dreaming about, we would love your company! Please come and check us out.
OPEN HEARTS, OPEN MINDS, OPEN DOORS
We are a community-based church since 1888. We welcome you. Our commitment is to love and worship God and share our joy and God’s love with others.
In the welcoming place of radical hospitality, informal and inspirational worship, amazing and grace-filled love, you are welcome, no matter who you are or how you come. God loves you.
We offer stimulating Bible studies, midweek men’s and women’s breakfasts, study and sharing; lots of smiles and laughter, serious discussion and thoughtful sharing. Our Sunday Morning Watch service is quiet, thoughtful and contemplative. Our contemporary worship service is warm, full of music, prayer, scripture and with thought provoking messages.
Life is so much richer with a strong sense of community. We invite you to enjoy the fellowship of our church family. Join us on Sundays and feel the love!
In Christ's most amazing love.