April 1, 2020

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.“ – Jesus

Dear Church Family and Friends,

In the midst of this viral epidemic we are all in the midst of a stay at home order.  Essential service personnel still go to work – grocers and take out eateries, delivery personnel, gas stations, sanitation, first responders, medical teams, etc.  After all, we need you! Thank you, all of you, for the services you are providing in this time of need.  We thank you, and we remember you in our prayers. 

As advised by the medical community and the governments, to help keep our faith community AND our town safe, First Church has closed its building and programming almost entirely.  Normally we are about bringing people together, and at this time we need to be scattered.  At this point we still hope to deliver our monthly Love Cupboard ministry, providing helpful food to some sixty – eighty households of our area.  We are live streaming weekly worship on radio (94.1FM and 1300 AM) AND on YouTube Sundays at 11:00AM – find us at YouTube’s First United Methodist Church of Clarion. 

The news has been hard to listen to, and day by day listening has increased the anxiety of many.  The news can lead you to an OVER preoccupation of death, despair, depression.  Don’t go there – it pulls you down!  History tells us that it’s been worse before, much worse, often in fact, both in people groups of history and in some moments of our personal lives, yet we are still here today, doing pretty well, considering.  And Jesus reminds us that in ALL these moments of history, his moment was to stare death in the face, challenge death, and conquer death.  He told us, then he showed us at Bethany with Lazarus so that we might understand the promise, and then he delivered the promise in Jerusalem at Friday’s Calgary and Sunday’s resurrection.  In this moment of crisis we have the choice to despair, or to live confidently.  John 14 reminds us that as believers, as Easter people, we still live in the midst of the world and the troubles of the world, and still may have and know peace of mind and spirit.  In Matthew 6 he points to examples of nature, and encourages us not to worry.  Live!  Live now, live tomorrow, live forever!  Thank you, Jesus!

There is a difference between fear and concern.  Be concerned.  Observe, hear, learn.  Stay at home, wash hands frequently, keep distances between one another.  Be patient.  Give it time for this experience to pass.  In this time pray, read scripture, find blessings in each day.  Listen to great music.  Do the things that you’ve been wanting to get to around the house and put off for how long!  Organize papers, tidy shelves, drawers, cupboards and closets.  A wash down, a little fresh paint, yard work, catch up on reading.  And in between sessions, give a friend a call to catch up and share the pleasure of the day. 

Encourage one another.  This too shall pass.  We shall move through this becoming a better person and better people, together.  Praise God always for the promise before us!  Thank you Jesus!

Pastor John