Notes from the Pastor Jeremiah

WORSHIP UPDATES

 AS OF JANUARY 24, 2021
IN-CHURCH WORSHIP AT 9:00 A.M. RESUMES
WITH PRECAUTIONS! 

Worship in the Sanctuary

Due to the improving situation around the Covid-19 pandemic in our area, the DeKalb County Health department has recommended that we can have up to 50 people in our sanctuary for worship on Sundays now.  This means, that if you can and wish to, you can attend worship in the sanctuary live.

If you choose to attend; you must wear a mask over your mouth and nose, at all times.  You must sanitize your hands when you arrive, you must sit at least 6 feet (and or one pew) away from anyone you didn’t arrive and/or live with, and sadly we still cannot do congregational singing.  If it would not be safe for you to attend worship, due to the continuing pandemic, we will continue to have church on Zoom, we will continue to post worship videos on Facebook and YouTube, and we will gladly mail sermons to you, if you wish.  We want to help you worship and connect with God and others, in the safest possible ways that we can.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email Pastor Jeremiah at castiger1@gmail.com, or call or text me at 815-592-3764.

One final note, as we are in the winter season, there is always a chance that we can’t worship in the sanctuary due to a snowstorm.  However, there will be worship online to quote the old song “heedless of the wind and weather,” unless the power goes out.  Peace everyone!


  PASTOR JEREMIAH’S FEBRUARY MESSAGE

PASTOR JEREMIAH’S MESSAGEAs I am writing this, the snow is falling.  The first of what might be two snowstorms this week.  I joked with an old friend from HS on Facebook, that a day like this makes we want to hibernate, just sleep until the spring warmth has melted much of the snow and woken the plants and such back up.  Don’t get me wrong, the snow is gorgeous, but thinking about shoveling it away from our doors, and also needing to go for my allergy shot today and driving in it, isn’t filling me with joy.  On a real level, I’d rather rest and sleep till the sun does my work for me. But I am not a bear even though I am a bit of grump sometimes.

I share these thoughts on the winter, and hibernation, because I think, in a sense, we’ve all been hibernating.  This time of year, a bit of that always happens as the winter weather keeps us in, curtailing most of our outdoor activities.  I know I walk and run in the warm months, but not the winter (at least not as much) because there is too much ice to fall on.  However, I do not think this is a normal winter, and I know for me, the urge to hibernate is a bit stronger than usual.

The continued stress of the pandemic and how it has forced our children to continue doing e-learning, weighs on me a lot.  The complexity of leading worship, both live and on Zoom, at the same and trying to find a balance of the two runs through my mind.  The sadness I feel over the deaths of more than 400,000 of our fellow Americans and more than a million of our siblings worldwide to Covid-19, is a burden. The stress and sadness I feel at the deep political divisions in the US; the struggle to be part of the solution to that and not the problem; the uncertainty how to help, I find exhausting.  Finally, the continuing plaque of racism in the US and worldwide, saddens my heart.  In some sense, beyond just the winter, I’d like to go sleep in a warm comfy den till all these problems melt away.  Do any of you ever feel that way?

Yet, even though we may feel very wintery in these times, I feel hope.  I know the snow that is blanketing our part of the world, will eventually provide moisture to the soil, and that will lead to corn, and beans, and oats, and flowers, and peas, and turnips.  I know that though the butterflies and the birds are gone now, they will return in the spring to bring bright beautiful colors to our lives.  I know that though the frogs and toads that are living in the Wilkinson-Renwick Marsh Forest preserve, where my family loves to go for walks, are now deep in the earth for the winter.  Soon they will be back with their chorus of the spring.

In the same way that the season will turn from winter into spring, so will some of the other problems we face will change.  I believe the immunizations will allow us not have to be as socially distanced.  Already we can worship again in our sanctuary with proper precautions and hopefully that will continue.  I believe we may be able to have bible studies and small groups again soon, possibly even around the same table.  I believe that with God’s help the cancer of racism in humans can be defeated.  I believe with God’s help other divides can be bridged.

We, as followers of Jesus Christ are people of hope.  We don’t give up, for we know God’s love is with us.  We follow Christ who rose from the dead.  We, this month, will start the season of Lent, remembering that yes, Christ died, but all of it leading to Easter.  That great sign of God’s love, the resurrection, the sign that sin and death are not more powerful than God.

So, spring is coming.  In the meantime, I pray you find some beauty in the snow.  I pray we all prepare our hearts this Lent for the joy of Easter. Please join our Lent study, or take on some other Lenten practice to draw closer to God.  I pray you can worship with us in person, or online, or ask us to send you the sermons in the mail, if you aren’t already getting them.  I can’t promise you that when spring comes, there will be no problems or complications.  With spring will come much work, as we start things up again in many old and new ways.  However, I promise you that as God walks with us through the snow, God will also be with us when the snow turns to slush and mud.  God will be there when the spring sun shines, and God will be with us guiding us towards something more wonderful than we can imagine.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.