Updated: Jul 3, 2020
“Just for You!” Reflection
The Bigger Picture
Pastor Jerry Kulp
July 1, 2020
1 The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; 2 for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.
3 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? 4 Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully. 5 They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation. 6 Such is the company of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob
Greetings and peace my friends!
I do not know if you are like me, but right now I have difficulty making “the right” decision. It feels as if information is coming so rapidly and from so many different perspectives, that my mind seems to fluctuate daily, sometimes hourly, on “what is an appropriate response,” and “what should I support and recommend?”
As you are all aware, this week the councils for the UPG Parish and St. John’s Windish Lutheran Church came together to try to come to a consensus on when we should begin to re-gather in person for worship.
If I had to guess, in your heart you probably know what I am about to share is true. There are some within our community who whole heartedly believe that the time for social distancing, wearing face masks, and being told not to gather is over. These folks among us genuinely believe that we, as a society, as a community of faith, need to get back to “normal.” These friends also believe that the continued delay is having “catastrophic” effects on our community.
There are others who are part of our community of faith who whole heartedly believe that we cannot do enough to keep our community safe. These folks would look at the science, would examine the number, and genuinely believe that the only appropriate way to deal with the virus is to avoid contact with one another. These friends of ours believe that to return to worship could have catastrophic effects if we would return too soon.
Alas, both views are held within our community and both views are heartfelt and believed to be accurate by those who possess them. There is not avarice, greed, or self-serving interests in either of these views. So, what is our community of faith leadership supposed to do? How are we supposed to act?
This same thinking could be applied to any situation that we face as a community. How does the community of faith best serve our “home bound” sisters and brothers in Christ? How does our community of faith best serve our children and our children’s Christian education? How does our community of faith speak to social justice issues? How does our community of faith worship? When do we worship? Where do we worship? How do we worship?
The truth is that for every question we encounter, there are people we love and respect who stand on the opposite side of an issue who are just as passionate, feel just as justified, as we feel on many issues and concerns facing our community of faith and facing our society.
This is when our thoughts, our prayers, our opinions, begin to become “swayed” and “may waver.” This is when the words of Psalm 24 resonate and pulse within my very being! “The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it;”
What is God’s Will in this world on any given subject? Not what is my thought and opinion, or how I would “do” something, but rather I/we should always ask the question; “What is God’s Will in a given situation?”
Based on my own relationship with our Lord and the human and therefore limited knowledge that I have on God’s desire, I am convinced that our Lord desires above all that we love God and that we love one another as God loves each of us. I know it feels like a simplistic formula of decision making, but none the less it is this question that passionately consumes my being when attempting to make decisions.
So my friends, in regards to “when” we return to in person worship, the leadership of our community of faith choose to in essence say; “Not now, but we will keep discerning, keep thinking, keep reasoning, and attempt to sense and feel when God would desire our community, for the benefit of all to return to “in-person” worship.”
In the meantime, our leadership saw fit to continue to invest our energy, our time, our resources to create stronger worship expressions through investing in higher quality “live stream” equipment. In the meantime, our leadership saw fit to invest energy, time, and resources to investigate alternative ways to bring our live stream worship to homes that previously did not have access to our worship celebrations.
These decisions were made faithfully. These decisions were made with the desire to seek God’s Will in this time and in this place. These decisions are not “perfect,” and could never be “perfect,” for every sister and brother in our community of faith because; well “the world” in which you and I reside is not “perfect.” Yet the One to whom the world belongs is PERFECT and God’s Will is PERFECT.
As for me and the house of God which I serve; we will trust the Lord and continue to seek the Lord’s guidance and the Lord’s will.
Keep trusting God, keep washing your hands, wear your masks, and social distance; and be at peace with our God and with one another!