Wednesday Letter to the Congregation
RKL, April 15, 2020
Greetings! I hope you are all doing well and staying SAFE! I want to share a few thoughts with you today.
First, with the recent news of the extended “Stay at Home” order, we will be continuing the Sunday morning online streaming of the 10 a.m. worship service. You can join us by going to the homepage of our Website (fccannarbor.org) and clicking the “Live Stream” button on the homepage any time after 9:50 a.m. If you join us between 9:50 – 10 a.m., you will also be welcomed by beautiful music! The prelude begins at 10 a.m. I hope to “see” you on Sunday mornings at 10!
Second, I think it is important we fulfill our Christian duty to our community, nation, and world by honoring the stay at home order of our Governor. Yes, I know this is a tough time we are experiencing, and we are all feeling a great deal of separation from others, along with the disruption of our freedom to enjoy the many places and activities we enjoy so much. However, in keeping with the ethical guidance of the social contract theory and the imperative of Jesus to “love our neighbors as ourselves,” we, the members of a free society, are now given an opportunity to give up some of our liberties in order that we may benefit the greater good of others. As Rev. Scott Dudley, senior pastor at Bellevue Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Washington, recently said in a New York Times article: “This [time of the coronavirus] is an enormous opportunity for Christians to show the world what we are for rather than all the many things they’ve heard us say that we were against.”
Third, I want to reiterate that, in spite of what some Christians may suggest, this Covid-19 pandemic is NOT some kind of punishment from God, nor is it in any way God’s will for humankind. I do NOT buy into the idea that God causes illnesses and calamities to occur. No! The current pandemic we are suffering under today is a product of our living within a natural, evolving, mutating order of nature…where viruses occur and where viruses and other diseases can potentially do great harm to humans…especially when humankind ends up being the host for them. I firmly believe God is good, loving, and kind…and that God ideally wants only the best for all of humankind…which includes health, goodness, compassion, justice, long life, etc. Indeed, I believe God suffers with us as we suffer….and even more, I believe God gives us courage to face life’s threats and hardships.
Fourth, and finally, I want to thank our wonderful staff for the excellent job they have been doing to reach out to our congregation and minister to our congregation during this time of disruption. Because of this terrific team (Darcy, Rachel, Robbie, Nancy, Crystal, Shohei, Jared, Josh, Tim, and Terry), we are enjoying ongoing creative programming, fun Zoom gatherings, awesome worship services online, and a host of other things that are keeping us supported, connected, and inspired.
Years ago, my wife Laura, introduced me to the Serenity Prayer, by Reinhold Niebuhr. May this prayer be your prayer today:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change those things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.
God bless you all this week,