Pastor's Note

December, 2020

Dear Church Family,

In the last months, my health has grabbed my attention. I have been in the hospital more in the previous two months than I have in the rest of my life combined. It has been a long journey, and it isn’t entirely over yet, though I feel so much better. Through this challenge, I have learned many things that I hope to share with you in our life together, going forward. Right now, I want to focus on three great blessings I have discovered.

I have learned what a blessing it is to have a family to go through difficult times with. Over and over again, you have reached out to me with expressions of support. I have eaten some of the best food I’ve ever had! Your cards and your texts and emails have been so uplifting. I type this leaning against a prayer shawl that our beloved shawl group knitted, praying over every stitch. I can be home because of the able leaders in our Church covering for me and doing my job. And the prayers! All the prayers you have said for me have been the most uplifting of all. Your prayers have been answered more than I can describe in this note. God has blessed me incredibly and used all that has happened for great good in my life. You never know how great your family is until you need them.

The second great blessing I have learned is also found in people. These are the people in our community. There are so many fantastic, hard-working, and caring healthcare workers who risked their health to bring mine back. God blessed me with caring nurses, doctors, cooks, laundry workers, cleaners, engineers, phlebotomists, lab workers, technicians, administrators, electricians, social workers, ambulance drivers, and so many unnamed support staff in our community who picked me up when I was down. They cared for me when I could not care for myself. I owe them my life. We are so blessed to have them here, only minutes away. I wish I could share all the stories of the kindnesses shown me, but they are legion. Hour by hour, caring people came and helped wherever the need was.

And the third great blessing is an ongoing one: that is what I am learning in the time you have given me to finish healing. I did not realize just how much I needed to step back and take a break until I didn’t choose the matter. The Session has graciously told me to stay home through December to rest and heal. This is a great gift. Thank you for allowing me to let others lead the worship and preach the sermons for a while as God knits me together physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I am very excited to learn what God is teaching me this time away.

As you know, I am drawn to the beautiful simplicity of monastic life, including keeping the liturgy of the hours with scheduled prayer and psalm time. I cannot get to the monastery for a silent retreat right now, but God is not found only in that holy place. I intend to keep regular prayer time and quiet meditation time in my home throughout my time away, including exercise to bring my body back to full strength and prayer time to heal my spirit and heart. I am very excited to be “with Christ in the school of prayer” and to share what he teaches me with you. I have one request for you that you lift me up in prayer as if I were on retreat, for I am. Ask God to teach me and equip me to do whatever he wants of me and that I might be willing. Thank you in advance; I know you will.

I look forward to seeing you back in worship in January. In the meantime, I’ll be worshipping, just like most of us are…online!

God bless you, and I’ll see you soon.

Love, Mike