“Only God! My mighty fortress who makes my way perfect.” 2 Samuel 22:33
Dear church family and friends,
Imagine a Triscuit cracker and a cup of coffee. Through the simplicity of foods in a quiet moment, the Holiness of God became apparent again to Pastor Bill Elwell of the Bristol Federated Monkton Friends Church in Vermont. Yes … all he had with him on that morning was a Triscuit and coffee, but God’s Holy Spirit was calling the man Bill Elwell to the Lord’s Table and Pastor Bill knew he needed to connect.
Dear friends, as we continue through our journey in this Twilight Zone era of human existence, we each have the opportunity to rediscover our relationship with the Holy. We can again identify with God and Jesus Christ if we seek hope and want to eliminate fears. As my friend discovered, God is much more powerful than the limits humankind has attempted to place on the Creator. If we seek God … if we truly seek God … then God will be there to bless us.
Bill Elwell is my friend; we went to seminary together. On a Wednesday morning in June Bill woke up and decided to avoid TV as he searched his kitchen for coffee. He turned on his computer and of all the images he could have seen in that moment his computer was directed to St. Paul’s Facebook page. My friend Bill saw a live stream from our sanctuary and so he stated to pay attention. He realized I was leading a service of Holy Communion online and Bill felt an urgency to join in from his home in Vermont. “Dave,” Bill said that afternoon, “it was like God was holding me so that I could hear the prayers, the Scriptures, and sense the need to eat the bread and drink from the cup.”
“Only God” the Scripture reading from 2 Samuel notes … “Only God” can be our mighty fortress perfecting our ways.
So Bill looked around his kitchen, but he didn’t have any bread, just Triscuits, and no juice but he already had his coffee. And my friend and fellow pastor said that God in those moments transformed the cracker and the coffee into the body and blood of our Savior, giving Bill a “Holy Spirit” moment he admitted he desperately needed.
So here we are with the month of September approaching. From March 22 until July 12 the worship opportunities from St. Paul’s were strictly online, but we have had more people from around the world worshiping with us than at any time in our history. God has not been limited by this pandemic and God’s people. Those of us who call ourselves Christians have been able to worship God because frankly, we don’t need a building for worship.
Thanks to God’s technology we are actually offering more worship opportunities for every person in the world from St. Paul’s. Online at 9:30 on Sunday mornings, Holy Communion Wednesday mornings at 7 a.m., two Bible studies, and daily devotionals. Plus our website provides prayer lists and needs. We have fed the hungry and cared for the broken.
As I write this I need to ask of all of us … are we getting closer to God in these unique times when we have added moments in our lives? I have challenged all who worship with us to read at least a few sentences from the Gospels and/or Acts chapter 1 every single day for the rest of our lives so that we can hear Jesus better. Have you chosen to go to the Lord’s Table more than once a month? We offer the service live, but this week I have had more than a half dozen individuals tell me that they are watching a recorded version of each week’s Holy Communion service in a quiet place so that they can experience the holy.
Our Leadership team on Reopening has tentatively scheduled Sunday October 4 as the next phase in bringing the church back together. But we have never stopped being church. We have our Sunday streamed services and our Sunday afternoon outdoor services and more.
What are you doing next Wednesday morning at 7 a.m.? Do you have a Triscuit and a cup of coffee, or a cup of grape juice and a piece of bread? Have you allowed yourself enough peace to sense God’s nudging you to get closer with the Holy? I hope you’ll join us and be blessed.
I keep all of you in prayer and ask that you keep me in your prayers.