Paul’s Message: Live the Now

LiveInTheNowAs I sit and gather my thoughts for this article, the snow is gently falling outside my window. It’s covered the trees and the walk. The day’s light is growing stronger.

Hala, our new puppy is nibbling on my slipper not so subtly waiting for me to play with her (she will get into some mischief here in a minute as if to say, “If you’re not going to pay attention to me, I will make you pay attention to me!” oh, how puppies are like us … ). Carrie is finding some much needed rest and recovery after a tough few work weeks. Lydia is home (acting all adult like) and Eric is on his way. It’s quiet right now … a blessed quiet.

One year is ending and a new one is dawning. I know that around New Years, we tend to gaze backward with thanksgiving or regret or both. We look forward with a sense of foreboding or anticipation or both. I intended to write about the new year coming up, but a friend reminded me not to get so caught in the past, or so lost wondering about the future that you miss out on the present moment.

2013 was full. 2014 will be too, I am sure. Some of it will be great/awesome/ life affirming and some of it will be challenging/overwhelming, perhaps even wounding. That’s life.

In a bit, I am going to have to shovel the driveway and walk. I am going to have feed the dog, finish the bulletin, and write my sermon (and take care of that mischievous puppy that has decided to steal ornaments off our tree … )

As a church, we will have a conversation about signs and faith, and faith and life. We will have a mission to follow, ministries to support, and lives to bless. Our agenda is full.

But we can’t miss the power of the present. There is possibility in this moment. We can focus on the present and enjoy it to its fullest. We can devote our full strength and attention to the present moment’s challenges. Our faith tells us that the Spirit is with us in our present. If we focus on this moment, we are more able to sense that presence. That’s living.

So live the now, my brothers and sisters. I know this isn’t original, but we can always use a reminder. Now about that puppy…

Peace, Paul

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  • Lent in the Midst of COVID

    We’re in the church season of Lent, a time of journeying with Jesus as he makes his way to Jerusalem and to the cross.  In addition to Sunday worship services on YouTube we will be adding short mid-week Lenten devotions from Pastor Meg and myself (also available on YouTube).

     Last month Mary-Ann Muffoletto sent me a picture. She took a ‘screen shot’ of our most recent Zoom congregational meeting, and I’m thankful she thought to do this. This is the moment when we ordained and installed new elders and deacons to our church. This is usually a sacred moment of our worship together on Sunday mornings, a special time for those new deacons and elders and also for the congregation as these individuals step into leadership positions for us. We’re usually doing a “laying on of hands” at this moment, as we offer a prayer for these new officers. This last year Presbyterian churches around the country have doing this via Zoom, and here we are, lifting up our hands as a blessing for these church officers, as we lift them up to God in their new roles.

    The big thing on our mind in the church office and with Session is when will we be back in worship together? I don’t have an answer for you at the moment, but as more people receive vaccines and transmission rates continue to decrease in Utah and around the country, we get closer to that time. Two Session members have volunteered to work with Pastor Meg and myself on plans for when we get back into the building. Outdoor worship services in a park is also a possibility before we return to our church building. When we are back in the sanctuary and Bruner Hall together our plan is to record the service and make it available on YouTube for those who choose to continue worshiping from home.

    I want to close by sharing a few things with you about our building during this last year. You might think the building has been empty and unused, but I assure you this is not the case. While most of our activities have been put on hold, several things have been occurring in our building. Session approved Loaves & Fishes to serve take-away meals and that has been ongoing through much of the year. Additionally, numerous recovery programs (similar to AA) have been meeting throughout the year (for some people, being able to attend a sobriety meeting is a life and death matter). And finally, the Red Cross has been holding blood drives every month or so. Craig Mortensen passed along to me that Red Cross blood drives at FPC collected 490 units of blood in the last year. Most of these units even came from willing donors… (just kidding!). All of these activities have required people to wear masks and socially distance to prevent spread of COVID.

    It brings me great joy to think of how many people Loaves & Fishes has helped, how many people have continued their journeys of sobriety, and how many people were helped through blood donations in the last year. Each of these activities come with some risk of COVID transmission, but Session approved them because they are essential for certain members of our community. All of these happenings are possible because of the use of our church building. I thank all of you for your ongoing support of FPC Logan. I know we aren’t worshiping there, and many of us are anxious to be back in the sanctuary (I am too). Thank you for bearing with us and our cautious approach. Good things are indeed happening through use of our building and because of our collective journeys with Jesus Christ.

    Grace and peace be with you on your Lenten journey.

    Pastor Derek

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