There are seasons and times, and they change according to the great orders set by God in the heavens. Sun and stars and moon and more are a grand, quantum clockwork of coming and going, now a little up, now a little down, been there before and going there soon again.
The magnificence of it all continues to inspire us, in spite of the many trials and dangers this life is constantly peppered with.
Births continue to amaze us, no matter what our positions on “women’s health” politics.
Deaths still stun us, and even stop whole civilizations in their tracks, whether in Wuhan or Winnebago.
Every year, we sow from the harvest of recent memory.
Every morning, we reap what we have sown.
We kill viruses and bacteria with soap and anesthetic and prejudice.
We upend whole economies, in order to make sure there is still a time and place that sick people can go to heal.
We watch the stocks break down in catastrophe. A day later, we watch the entire thing build up again.
We don’t know whether to weep in OCD worst-case scenario anxiety-overload, or to laugh hysterically at how silly we must look to any superior life forms who might be looking and wondering what we’re all so afraid of.
We mourn, for our loved ones have just died in our arms.
We dance, for our loved ones have just made full recovery.
The stones you thought were so important to gather and build with suddenly don’t seem all the good you’d thought them to be.
But now you can also see how good it will be to cast old weights away, in order to freely embrace the present for what it is.
There is a time to resist the present, to fight back against the world and call your enemy what he is to his face.
Because sometimes, you’re just going to lose anyway.
Sometimes, you don’t so much need to win, as you need to be found.
Sometimes the LORD gives.
And sometimes Jesus takes away.
Sometimes, he consumes your dross in fire and bleaches your stains in the purging glory of your own suffering.
Sometimes, there is balm in Gilead.
There is nothing sundered that shall not be made whole. There is nothing you have lost which your good King shall not with 100x interest restore to you.
On that day, he will no longer keep silent, leaving his reign to the still small voice of Christian preaching, but with the voice of an archangel and the radiant blasts of heaven’s horn, he will speak to us all, “Beloved, it’s time to get up."
On that day you will love, even though up to that point all your other times and seasons can’t help but have been filled with this cursed world’s hate.
There is, then, after all, a time for war, and a time for peace.
It is always, and ever shall be, called today.
Be strong, and let your hearts know courage,
A low tech service of darkness to suit your inner devotion as you shelter and pray.
There is little question that we are living in strange times. But it is an utter gift to know that as much as this world is in chaos, the Lord Jesus never budges an inch on his reign of grace and salvation.
That’s why I am so personally thankful for the regular “private mass” services of Word and Sacrament that we have continued with both decorum and due diligence regarding health and safety.
Though we will miss many familiar hymns and readings over the 2020 Holy Week, we will not miss the Feast of Victory for our Lord.
Nor do you have to entirely miss Good Friday Tenebrae. If you have a computer and internet, you can join the Fisk family for a livestream service of singing and meditation at sundown (a little after 7) on Friday at www.youtube.com/revfiskj
More so, be assured that however you may be taking shelter at these times, once we are again in the clear as a county, our first Sunday back will resound with Easter observations to remind us yet again that while our times are always changing and dying, our Lord and his religion are, indeed, very much alive.
Just as he said…
Meridith, I and the children are doing well. In fact, in all this madness, after two years of renting in Rockford, we are under contract for a house. Please rejoice and pray for this, as our closing is as uncertain as everything else these days….except the reign of Jesus, of course.
Until next time,
P.S. At request we have worked hard the make an online giving platform available. See more on the included note from our Treasurer. The platform can be found at:
P.P.S. Online giving is very helpful when you can’t come to church. But be advised that they do take a percentage in processing. Mailing your checks to Saint Paul is still the best way to ensure that your gifts go the furthest.
***Please call Sue at (815-979-3952) to schedule an appointment for Saturday from 4:00pm – 6:00pm and Easter Sunday from 8:00am – 1:00pm. ***
Dear Members of St. Paul,
We are pleased to announce that online giving is now available for St. Paul Lutheran Church. There are two new ways you can make a donation quickly at any time from anywhere:
• Give online at our church website, www.stpaulrockford.org/online-giving
• Download the free “GivePlus” app from the App Store or Google Play.
You are still encouraged to bring your offering to church or mail it in, particularly during this time when we are not able to gather together. Electronic giving is intended to offer additional ways to make it easy to support the ministry of St. Paul. We invite you to utilize these tools if they simplify your giving, perhaps by setting up a recurring donation. Should you have any questions about online giving, feel free to contact me directly at (815) 332-7146 or call the church office (815-979-3952). Thank you for your continued prayerful and financial support of St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Erica de Guzman
Pastor Fisk chatting between services at St Paul
OT Teaching on King SAul
Hymn recommendation for the Week: 436
Want more? Go deep on being Jars of Clay in this old radio show with Pastor Fisk and the Rev. Dr. Adam Koontz
Sharper Iron & The New Covenant: Vessels for Glorious Death https://www.kfuo.org/2018/12/14/sharperiron-new-covenant-121418-vessels-for-glorious-death/