May 19th 2020 Update
Good afternoon Church!
I sense the gloominess of our weather perhaps reflects the gloominess of many hearts this week. We've been wrestling with all the changes brought on by our pandemic response for almost 10 weeks now. Many have put on a good face, given it their best shot, and hung in there to use a bunch of cliches. But there are signs of weariness. Some of us are reacting to the unexpected bumps of life more often in less than godly ways than we were at first. In church life we see possible signs of giving and live-stream participation fatigue. Things are beginning to reopen, but we are realizing it won't really be the same for a long time, maybe ever. We are a little like the old priests in the book of Ezra who, while all the people rejoice in the rebuilding of the temple, wept instead, because they remembered the former temple. It's a little bit like we have been hydroplaning. We've tried to be positive but when an obstacle comes and we have to slam on the breaks, we realize we haven't been as grounded as we thought and we begin to slide! We really are at that point in a marathon race where you hit the wall! And on top of it all, it's raining...like constantly raining!
We are told to "take a deep breath!" And there is nothing wrong with that, as far as it goes. But we need something more...we need to stop and empty ourselves of all the junk that's been building in authentic confession before God, and then invite Him to fill us afresh with the Holy Spirit...so that fruit can be displayed and Jesus be seen. And then begin to run the race again! I invite everyone of us at some point today, to intentionally put off the junk, be renewed in our attitudes and thoughts, and put on Christ! And keep running the race!
THREE PETER WEEKS!
Next Sundaywe will be in the book of I Peter. The Sunday after that (May 31st), Peter and Heidi Rufener will join us via live-stream and Peter will be preaching! And the Sunday after that we will be in II Peter. May the Lord richly prepare our hearts.
We are planning to reopenon June 7th, with a considerable list of guidelines in place consistent with Ohio's business guidelines and the Marion Department of Health's suggestions. (You can find those guidelines at our website if you missed them previously). Questions are beginning to filter in, from "Why the change in worship times?" to "Shouldn't we be less strict, or more strict about masks?" Bottom line, we are looking to reflect gracious balance in being good neighbors in our community and providing the opportunity to worship together again! And how we long for faith, not fear or foolishness to carry the day! But if our guidelines raise significant concern for anyone, we would graciously encourage them to continue to join us via live-stream until they are ready to return. We really are in this together and we really do long for every single person to know that they are loved and valued! And speaking of reopening, Lord willing Peter and Heidi will join uson June 21stto connect/meet the body before we make any final decisions regarding calling them to join our team! (Peter will be preaching that Sunday as well as theMay 31stlive stream Sunday).
BEULAH ON THE ROAD
And speaking a little more of reopening, Beulah Beach is hoping to open its camping seasonon July 5th. A final decision will be made aroundJune 1, but if camps are on, Beulah on the Road (July 13-17) is a possibility for Cornerstone! We don't plan to make a call on hosting until justafter June 1when we hear what Beulah is planning, but those of you who have kids who attend our summer camp can be of great help to us in providing feedback. You recently should have received a survey and note from Melissa Weston, our BOTR Director. Please take the time to fill out the survey and submit it as soon as possible. Your openness to participate in camp and under what circumstances will impact our decision significantly!
On a gloomy day and at a possibly wearisome point in this season of life, we could all use a blessing. So I offer you the grand-daddy of all benedictions (blessings) in Scripture, taken from Numbers 6. "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace!"