Owatonna United Methodist Church
Sunday, March 29, 2020
Connecting Caring Learning Serving

Weekly E-pistle

After a winter of ice and snow and many grey days, mild temperatures and sunshine have brought us hope that spring is around the corner.  We’ve heard reports of tulips emerging from the soil, red-winged blackbirds at the feeders, and even sightings of our neighbors in their yards!  As we are anticipating spring with its warmth and beauty, we are also awaiting what God has planned for our congregation.  Where will our ministry take us, and who will lead us?  We need to look on this time as a great adventure that God will share with us.  Look forward, not back!  Look outward!   Trust in God.

 

Just as we have reached the midpoint of the Lenten season, COVID19  has taken over our lives.  We’ve gone from making light of this health crisis in other countries to experiencing a pandemic in our own country.   First it was “20 second hand washes”; then six foot distancing; and now canceling school, church, entertainment venues, even the sports we watch on television.   The media stirs our anxiety with its reports of shortages.  We are living in unprecedented times.  We could look on this as a difficult time.

 

I want to encourage you, as you are distancing and self-quarantining, that you see this time as an opportunity to invite God in.  This is an opportunity to read the Bible, to study, to examine our lives.  This can be a quiet pause in which we take stock of our lives just as we took stock of our church in our Check Up.    Ignatius of Loyola encourages us to examine our days:  Become aware of the moment of the day for which you are most grateful and give God thanks for it.  Identify the moment of the day for which you are least grateful.  Pray to God to release you and all others involved in that moment from its pain so that you can treat yourself and others compassionately. 

 

Consider how you can use these days to bring love to others by a phone call, a note, and/or a prayer.  Be aware of the vulnerable in our community.  Check on them because we may not realize the impact this crisis is having on those around us.  And take care of yourself.  Get outside for a walk, and use this time to admire the glory of God’s creation.  You’ll feel better with some fresh air and exercise, and you’ll also realize that the world is still intact even if our lives seem out of order.

 

I too am stepping into the unknown future as I have sent a letter to Bishop Ough requesting that I not be reappointed to the Prairie Spirit Parish.  I have loved serving this congregation, and  I am grateful for the opportunities you gave me to minister to you.  You have been kind and patient with my errors and forgiving of my blunders.   Knowing you has been a gift to me. 

 

I tried retiring back in 2008 and failed royally at it.  I will give it another try in 2020.  Although I cannot participate in the worship and events of this church, I expect we will meet on the street or when COVID19 has subsided at some event, and that will bring me much pleasure.

 

Pastor Linda