St Andrew Blog

A Message from Pastor Lisa: Love Overcomes Fear

Love Overcomes Fear

love casts out fear

A couple days ago I read a message from Richard Rohr and the Center for Action and Contemplation that really touched me. He started by acknowledging how much the world has changed in just these last few weeks.

That's for sure! Our routines are disrupted. We are working from home--or NOT working--and worrying about where income is going to come from. OR, we worry how our retirement savings will stretch to cover our needs in our post-working years.

We shop differently, exercise differently, socialize differently. We certainly clean and sanitize ourselves and every surface in our homes differently than we once did! And it seems likely that we will all be adapting to these and other significant changes for weeks and perhaps months to come.

Social distancing may cause us to watch a lot more Netflix and Amazon Prime, and to occupy ourselves with news from a variety of sources, but I hope the found time we have on our hands also gives us the opportunity to find moments for reflection and prayer. God does not cause this kind of suffering to teach us things worth learning, but God does use everything as an opportunity to deepen our awareness of divine love and care. So let's make going deeper in our walk of faith, part of our daily schedules.

Richard Rohr said we have a chance to "go deep, and to go broad. Globally, we're in this together. Depth is being forced on us by great suffering, which as I like to say, always leads to great love."

I believe great suffering leads to great love when we open ourselves to feel the suffering of others and to respond to the suffering around us with concrete signs of God's love; with care for vulnerable neighbors; with generous giving; with encouraging phone calls to family and friends.

"Love always goes beyond itself," Fr. Rohr said. I believe love always calls us to an encounter with "the least of these" Jesus loved so much. It is God's unquestionable and unconditional love that will sustain us in this time. And it is love that will help us overcome our own fear by helping others overcome theirs.

I pray for you all daily and encourage you to pray for one another. Join us for worship. Connect with the daily Facebook devotion. Remember to give as you are able and serve others as you can. Go deep--go broad--love one another.

Important Notice - Staying Healthy

We will not be gathering for worship or large events for two weeks.

stay healthy covid 2020

In these unusual times with COVID-19, St. Andrew has decided to take precautions to keep our beloved partners and friends safe and healthy. This includes the postponement/cancellation of events for two weeks.
These events include:

  • St. Paddy's Day Dinner
  • NHN Wine Pairing Dinner
  • March 18th Lenten Dinner Church
  • "What is Healthy Eating?" Forum
  • Bible Study
  • Kate's Lenten Book Study
  • Family Time on March 22nd
  • and Worship

We are planning to reschedule the St. Paddy's day dinner and will provide more information later. Your tickets will be honored for the new date.

Small group ministries and gatherings in the next two weeks will be handled on a case to case basis. Please check with your leader if they have not yet advised you as to their plans.

Although we will not be physically gathering for worship this Sunday, we are always spiritually connected! The pastors and musicians will be live streaming a worship experience to you all via Facebook live. When we have that link available, we will send it out to you.
If you have any questions, please call the office.

In addition, please check in on one another by phone, email, or text. Keeping in contact is our goal! Some of you may think this is an over reaction. It may be. Nevertheless, we love you all too much to not take the precautions necessary. Please understand we are not canceling events out of fear, but out of love and care. Thank you for understanding!"
Please call the office if you have any questions.

Letters from the Intern

Be Kind

be kind

A family of four were heading out to dinner to celebrate their Dad, Joe’s, birthday. Because it was his birthday, he got to choose the restaurant. He picked his favorite little restaurant with, what he thought, was the best burger in the area. Giddy and ready to go, the family piled in the car and headed out.

Upon arriving at the restaurant, there was little parking available. They ended up having to park quite a ways down the street and walk. It started sprinkling, so they swiftly entered the restaurant where they were greeted with a smile. The host told them it would be a thirty-minute wait. Slightly frustrated, they agreed to wait. Thirty minutes turned into forty-five and finally they were seated at their table.

When they sat down, the waiter tossed the menus on the table and asked what they wanted to drink. They all said, “Water, please,” and the waiter scoffed. He said, “Waters all around. Great,” but it was clear he didn’t really think it was “great.”

Events like this kept happening throughout the night. One of the kids spilled their water and the waiter complained and harshly told them to be more careful. The food Joe ordered was all wrong, but he didn’t send it back. One of the kids tried to get them to sing happy birthday, but the waiter laughed and said, “Isn’t he a little old for that?” Mortified, the rest of his family was ready to complain to the manager and rightfully so. The service they received was below sub-par and downright rude. Yet, Joe sat there quietly enjoying his burger and said, “But we’re here together. That’s all I care about.”

When it came time to take care of the check, Joe paused as he began to calculate the tip. About a minute later, he turned to his family and said, “I know it’s my birthday, but I’m going to give our waiter a gift, is that all right?” The family looked confused as he wrote a little note on the napkin and dropped a $100 bill on the table. “Alright, you guys ready to go home?” Joe said. They put on their jackets and started to leave.

They had just stepped outside when their waiter came rushing toward them. He looked shocked and had tears in his eyes. “How did you know?” he said. The family looked at Joe. Joe said, “Something told me that you were dealing with a lot, so I wanted you to know that someone is paying attention.” The waiter started to sob as he unclutched the napkin in his hand where Joe had written, “It’s going to be okay.” The waiter took a breath and said, “My mom started chemo today. And I couldn’t get work off to be there with her.”

The family surrounded him in a hug and began to cry with him. Joe said a prayer for his mom, and they went home.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I recently heard this story and wanted to share it. Although I cannot verify if the story is true, I am struck by the thought that compassion for one another can truly make a difference.

We can never know what someone else is dealing with, but we can always show compassion. Sure, Joe was probably frustrated. Who wouldn’t be in that situation? But he chose to be kind.

Ephesians 4:32 says, “… and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.”

Let us pray:

God, we give thanks for your presence in our lives in unexpected places. We ask that you give us ears to hear your word, eyes to see your ways, and to protect our hearts from hardening. Help us choose kindness and love over everything.

Amen.

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Letters from the Intern

Our "Good Friday" Moments

good friday 760x506The sun is setting. The sanctuary is lit with candles held in the hands of teary-eyed people singing together. “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” rings throughout the building. I hear sniffles as we switch the verses to “Were you there when they nailed him to the tree.” And “Laid him in the tomb.” These words permeate our hearts; remembering Christ’s death at the hands of hate and fear. Yet Christ loved us through it all.

I know what you’re thinking, “Kate, it’s after Easter, why are we talking about Good Friday?” You’re right, we have heard the good news that Christ overcame death and has risen! What an occasion to celebrate! It is joyful and we are Easter people, but the hope of Easter is empty without the experience of Good Friday. Good Friday not only reminds us of the immeasurable love that Christ has for us, but it reminds us that amidst death, there is new hope.

For the people there, Jesus was making the way for love, justice, and peace. His followers believed in him and his message. And then he was killed, abruptly, brutally, and publically. The people there did not hear a message of hope any longer. They watched as their beloved God in flesh was murdered; Killed for nothing more than existing and spreading a message that threatened the power structures in place. An act like this would make anyone question, “God, where are you?” It is this question I find myself asking in difficult times.

Although we are living in a post resurrection world, we too have Good Friday moments throughout our lives. Maybe it’s a cancer diagnosis, or the death of a friend. Maybe it’s the feeling of not knowing where the money for a car repair is coming from, or how you’re going to pay for food for the next week. When we step into unknown territory like this, we are filled with fear and questions.

This fear that fills us does not make us bad Christians or unfaithful people. It’s a natural response to difficult situations. When we experience fear and doubt, it’s our faith that keeps us going. It’s our faith that carries us. In our Easter celebrations, we cannot dismiss the two days before where the darkness seemed to overcome us all.

Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 1:9,
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
I love this verse and think it’s so important to our Easter season. Even after Christ was raised from the dead and had ascended into heaven, there were still questions. There was still fear. Yet, in the hardest times, our faith is all we have. It might not completely fix our problems, it might not even comfort us completely, but it reminds us that on this path of life, we are not alone.

Maybe we know that joy comes in the morning but at times, the night seems so long. We might hear the Easter message and know that we have so much to hope for and love to fill our hearts. But if it doesn’t feel like that right now, that’s okay and God is with you. In addition, the community of St. Andrew is with you, and we will stand with you through it all. Because you are a beloved child of God, part of the body of Christ, and God has a plan for you filled with hope, love, and peace.

Let us pray,

Holy and everlasting God, you give us the gift of life. Remind us that in this gift you are walking with us; that you are greater than the ups and downs. Renew in us the joy of salvation and the hope we have in the resurrection.
Amen

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