I wanted to take a moment to talk about our usual Booya Festival. I’m sorry to say that Booya will be cancelled for 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. With the current trend in cases, with schools reopening, and the average age of our volunteers; it would not be wise to hold our festival this year. So instead, we are hosting a concert featuring the Jumping Jehosafats on October 4th at 2p! The JJ’s are led by Reverend Lyndy Zabel, who used to be the pastor at Gethsemane! We will hold the concert outside near our picnic pavilion. People can spread out on the grass to practice good physical distancing, bring a lawn chair, bring a blanket, and enjoy some gospel jazz tunes.
This is also a great opportunity to help meet a need in our community. Last fall we did a drive to collect clothes, diapers, and baby supplies to help stock Foster One’s storehouse. Since the pandemic hit, Foster One has been in need of things like car seats, diapers, and clothes. And once school begins in the fall, they usually get a lot of requests for items. When you come for the JJ’s concert, please bring an item to donate! We will have a person with a mask, gloves, and sanitizer collecting the donations one at a time.
I know it is sad news that our annual tradition of Booya will not be happening. And it feels like every week this virus takes another toll on our wellbeing. But we still have an opportunity to safely come together as a community, enjoy each other’s company, listen to some great music, and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Shalom, Pastor David Hodd 952-250-9986 email@example.com
What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9
Grace and peace friends,
Early in the spring, Amy went on an online shopping spree. She bought a birdfeeder, a bird bath, a humming bird feeder, one of those weird cagey ones that you put those weird bricks into, and a dish to put in jelly for bees. As the big 30 gets closer, things like how much rain we got, bird feeders, and gardens have become more and more appealing. So I was excited to see what kind of native Roseville birds would visit our modest wildlife buffet. Well, spring came and went. Summer began, the flowers grew and bloomed. I put seeds in the ground for our garden. And most mornings I would wake up and as my coffee was brewing, I would look out my kitchen window at the vacant birdfeeder feeling like we were doing something wrong. The seed wasn’t good enough. We need the right kind of seed to attract the native birds. The position of the feeder was too close to the house. The wiring is too small, they can’t get in there. Or maybe, just maybe they’re afraid of the 6 foot tall, long-haired, freckled lunatic standing in the window glaring at a overflowing feeder. Numerous times I would ask Amy, “Should we move it?” “Should we buy different seed?” “Why aren’t the birds coming?” And every time Amy would respond with, “They just need time to get used to it. My mom said it took a year for birds to stop by theirs.” So I continued grumbling about it while doing nothing.
I had pretty much forgotten about it as it began blending in with the scenery of the house. Last week while on vacation, I made a list of things I want to accomplish around the house; Wash windows, clean the garage, get rid of some junk, that sort of thing. While I was out and about, lo and behold, birds! A ton of birds showed up out of nowhere! So I thought to myself, “Surely they are loving the birdfeeder and bird bath! When I checked, they were all just flying past it. In a flock of what seemed like 20 birds, not one seemed to care that my wife went on a shopping spree in March. I resigned myself to the fact that maybe we just weren’t bird people, and at least I wouldn’t have to add “refill birdfeeder” to my chore list. So you could imagine my shock last Sunday, as we sat at our kitchen table to join a zoom baby shower, I saw a chickadee. Who I promptly named Rufus. Rufus has two friends who have been coming around every day to jump in and out of our feeder! I could already hear the “I told you so” from Amy, luckily she has the grace not to rub that sort of thing in. As I sat and watched these little birds fly around our flower garden enjoying a meal and a drink, I thought of the text from 1 Corinthians. That we can try in our own human ways to do everything in our power to make something happen, but in the end it seems God is the one to make life spring up, burst through, or fly down into our lives. That God cares for the little things, and that when God brings the little things like the flowers and the birds around, we are reminded that God cares for us as well. My friends, in the midst of the turmoil that is happening around us everyday, never forget God cares for us just like God cares for the birds and the flowers. Sometimes we just need to be patient.
“Jesus returned to the synagogue. A man with a withered hand was there. Wanting to bring charges against Jesus, they were watching Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath. He said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Step up where people can see you.’ Then he said to them, ‘Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?’ But they said nothing. Looking around at them with anger, deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts, he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ So he did, and his hand was made healthy. At that, the Pharisees got together with the supporters of Herod to plan how to destroy Jesus.” Mark 3:1-6
Grace and peace friends,
There is a Jewish law called pikuach nefesh, translated “saving a life.” In this principle of the Jewish faith, it is believed that the preservation of human life overrides virtually any other religious rule—even the command not to work on the Sabbath. These two principles of pikuach nefesh (saving a life) and mitzvah lo ta’aseh (command to do no action) are the stars of Jesus’ interaction with the Pharisees at the synagogue that Sabbath day over two thousand years ago. Jesus saw the man with the withered hand, and saw a person whose life was destroyed by an illness; an illness that could be healed in that moment, so that this man’s life could begin in a new way. “Is it legal on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save a life or to kill?” Jesus asked the people who spent their lives studying the Law. That was the situation Jesus was in, an argument over the Law while an innocent person suffered needlessly. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? And when these experts in the Law choose the latter option, Jesus becomes indignant and begins to act. As I look at our country’s inability to act with compassion toward our neighbors by simply wearing a cloth mask, I too am deeply grieved at their unyielding hearts.
I will start off by saying that some people have had traumatic experiences in their lives, and cannot physically wear a facemask without triggering anxiety and fear caused by their trauma. So I understand the reasoning that some people are unable to wear a facemask. And there are resources and services available to those people where they can get their needs met without putting others at risk through grocery delivery to friends and family helping out. If you are in that boat and need help, let me know, I am happy to put on my own facemask and bring supplies to you. But for the overwhelming majority, the act of being slightly uncomfortable is too much to ask for them to do good and save a life. It is especially hard for me to watch people say things like, “They want to throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.” Because if someone is invoking the name of God or Christ to not wear a facemask, I would ask them to read the story above and ask them which is better, to do good or to do evil?
The reality is, the pandemic did not need to hurt the United States this much. States have been making their beds since March and are now lying in them. From reopening too quickly, to not mandating facemasks, to outright banning the mandating of facemasks; this is the consequence of ignoring the data that says facemasks prevent the spread of illness. Here is a link to 70 academic papers that show evidence that wearing a mask reduces the spread of germs. If you find yourself feeling that your rights are infringed upon, or that a facemask is a political statement, or that if a business requires a facemask you won’t shop there; I am humbly, compassionately, and sincerely asking you to wake up. Wearing a facemask is not an infringement on anyone’s rights. Wearing a facemask is not a political statement. Businesses requiring facemasks is meant to protect human lives. The same way wearing a seatbelt, banning smoking, or stopping people from driving drunk saves lives. Other countries have embraced facemasks, contact tracing, and following the guidelines set by health experts and are able to safely reopen businesses, schools, and churches. Let us be part of the movement that helps our country do that as well.
Not only is wearing a facemask good for the overall health of our nation, but it also answers the call Christ gives us in Mark; to do good, to save life, and to heal the sick. So please, from someone who has shopped with foggy glasses, stay home when you can, practice physical distancing, and wear a facemask.
Shalom, Pastor David Hodd 952-250-9986 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you like hearing affirming “yeah”s and the token Christian “Mmm” after hearing something profound, then you’re going to love this Ask the Pastor episode! Pastor David and guest Pastor Jeremiah tackle the question: Is stating what the Bible says oppressive?
You can submit questions for future videos at gum.church/ask