Message from Pastor Cherie 10 am

And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. – Micah 6:8

My dear friends in Christ,

This week I have had several conversations with folks and one thing that keeps surfacing is the idea that we are being encouraged during this time to consider what is important. What do we consider ‘essential’? Our lists would be different for each of us. Some would say a haircut. Others would say a trip to the chiropractor. Still others would say a trip to…well…anywhere outside their home! But there are three things that I think most would agree were essential are food, family and faith.

We saw, and continue to see, line ups at grocery stores to get what we need for sustenance but our outlook on that has changed somewhat since the beginning of the pandemic, I think. We are no longer hoarding, we are getting just what we need. We realize that what we need has to take precedence over what we want. Conversely, what most of would say we vitally want, to be with family, has to take precedence over what we need as a society to stay safe. And faith? Well, we need our faith more than ever right now, don’t we? And we want to be able to lean on our faith, and our God. We can! He is here for us, always has been, always will.

And what does God ask in return? Take a look at the passage above? This fits so well into addressing what we need during this time of COVID, “To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Acting justly (taking only what we need), loving mercy (being mindful of what we want and what we don’t really need) and walking humbly with our God (relying on what we need in this life, and truly wanting to walk with God).

This week during our service we will be celebrating Communion. It will be BYOB…Bring Your Own Bread…and juice. And following our time on Facebook Live we will have a Zoom Coffee Hour. The link is in your email. Join us even if you don’t have Facebook! I have included a recipe that, if you are feeling inspired, you can make and we can all enjoy together during our coffee time. It relates to the sermon, is all I’m going to say…

As we anticipate our eventual return to worship, your Session has put a COVID team in place to envision what that would look like and prepare us for that eventuality. I know we are all missing being in our sanctuary, but we are still God’s church as God’s people. Take some time this week and give a couple of our church family members a call. I would especially commend you to call someone you might not know well, or even know at all! What a great opportunity to strengthen our ties! Use our phone list and if you don’t have one, email me and I would be happy to send you one!

Remember that I am with you in this. I’m as close as a phone call or text (905-401-7641) or an email (pastorcherie@gmail.com).

Be well, be safe, you are beloved,

Pastor Cherie

Sharing Church, Being Church, Together

To give you a fuller experience of worship and connecting, I am including a prayer for you, the scripture reading for this week, and a devotion for your day.

Prayer: by Pastor Michelle Poser of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

Lord, in your mercy we pray. We pray for justice. We lift up people who have been chased from their homes due to violence, famine or persecution. We name as sin the injustice due to prejudices against race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, economic class, or nationality. We condemn the exploitation of the weak and the vulnerable.

We seek your loving kindness – not only for ourselves but also for all people. Teach us to remember the mercy we have received so that we may extend that mercy to others. We pray your presence and comfort on those who receive hate or cruelty: victims of sexual and other assault, the hungry in communities of plenty, the homeless, those suffering with mental illness with no access to care, and for veterans who still struggle with war even though they are home.

We ask for humble hearts. May we have the eyes of Jesus to see the blessed and those in need of blessing. Give us patience to sit with those who mourn; peace to share with the anxious; gentleness to wrap around the sick; faithfulness in times of uncertainty.

How shall we come before you Lord? May we come with faith and an open heart so that we may go into the world with justice, mercy and humility. With a boldness that comes in the midst of your grace, we join our voices praying the prayer Jesus taught us using the words each of us find most familiar: Our Father…

If you are praying with children, may I suggest this?

God, can you help me today? I want to be kind. God, will you help me to be kind, please? I want to help others. God, can you show me how I can help my parents, my sisters or brothers, my friends? I want pray for other people. God, help me to see people to pray for. I want to love you. God, can you be in my heart today? Our Father…

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:4-10 (The Message translation)

Our work as God’s servants gets validated—or not—in the details. People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we’re beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we’re telling the truth, and when God’s showing his power; when we’re doing our best setting things right; when we’re praised, and when we’re blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

Devotional for this week:

Max Lucado gives us a very relevant acronym to work through in times of anxiety— the acronym C.A.L.M.

Celebrate God’s Goodness

We are invited to learn to calm our anxiety by rejoicing in what God is doing through His power and goodness.

Ask God for Help

Asking for help can be hard. We don’t want to put our problems on anyone. But Max shows us how this can calm our anxiety, too, and how letting our requests be known to God is biblical and God wants to help us. No matter the situation. Just reading that takes a weight off my shoulders.

Leave Your Concerns With Him

It’s hard to be thankful when we have a lot going on around us. Because #LifeHappens! But, we are encouraged to see how we can be thankful through our trials and circumstances to help us calm our anxiety.

Meditate on the Good Things

When life gets hard, what do we focus on? … the bad stuff. We are called to constantly readjust what we are thinking about. Learning how to cling to Christ and think in a whole new way will help us calm our anxiety.

Questions to consider:

What goodness in your life would you like to thank God for this week?

What would you ask God for in your prayers this week? What do you need? What do you want?

Can you leave your concerns with God? Or will you feel the need to reclaim them, thinking you can handle them on your own?

I invite you to take some time to meditate on God’s presence in your life. Take some quiet time with the Lord each day and let God’s peace settle on you and in you.

Recipe:

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels

(Great for a family, but if there is just you, maybe consider sharing with a friend!)

INGREDIENTS

2 cans (8 oz) refrigerated crescent dough rolls or puff pastry dough (in pinch you could use store bought tortillas instead)

1/2 pound deli sliced Black Forest ham

8 ounces cheese, grated, shredded or sliced, Gouda, Havarti or Cheddar work well

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 Tablespoons mayonnaise, mixed with 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard and 1 Tablespoon grated parmesan cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray two large baking sheets with cooking spray. Reserve.

Unroll dough onto a large cutting board or on your counter, pressing into a 12X8-inch rectangle

Spread the Dijon mayo and top with ham and cheese, leaving a 1/4-inch border on the edges.

Roll up tightly into a log, starting on the short end of the rectangle and seal the seam. Repeat with the second dough sheet.

Cut each log into 8 slices, about 1-inch thick. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 1-inch space between them.

Brush with melted butter and sprinkle the chopped parsley.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve warm!