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Pastor Paul: How do we define 'essential'?

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Dear Bethanians,

“What is essential?”  Laurie received a document yesterday from Martha and Mary declaring her to be an “essential employee.” This is something she can display if ever she is stopped and questioned, apparently.  Please note, I have received no such document … however, Gov. Inslee did make the provision for faith communities to do online worship, allowing a small group for production.  I feel validated somehow.

But this is a time when we need to ask ourselves, “What is essential?”  whenever we look to venture out, for groceries, for pharmaceuticals, for a walk (essential in my thinking).  We ask this not just with ourselves in mind, but for the sake of the whole community, realizing the importance of social distancing. (I was disturbed to read in this morning’s paper of a few megachurches that met physically together for worship yesterday, as many as 1,000 gathered together, many not practicing the appropriate spacing. Those pastors have a high opinion of themselves, apparently … )

But “what is essential?” might be a good question to ponder today.  And for our ponderings we have Micah 6:8: “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Let that lead us to what is “essential.”

Pastor Paul

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Pastor Paul: On a death; anticipating Holy Week

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Dear Bethanians,

The first phone call I received this morning was from Myrna Johnson, informing me that her husband, Bud, had died overnight at Harrison Medical Center. This was not unexpected, as I had sent out a prayer concern yesterday about his end-of-life care. Still, it was a reminder that life, and death, in ways apart from, yet affected by, coronavirus, persists. May our prayers and acts of compassion persist as well.

I spent the bulk of yesterday at First/Poulsbo, filming worship services even into Holy Week, realizing that the governor’s wise counsel advises against any sort of “nonessential” activity starting last night. While this is an “ouch," being classified as non-essential, it is wise guidance. I am thankful to the staff at First/Poulsbo and of “Seekers” ministry for expediting this effort, and gracefully including Bethany in it. Next week we will be sending out a packet of materials, including bulletins and devotions for Holy Week that will be companions to the online worship experience. Life, including liturgical life, persists, bearing witness to God and the people of God at such a time as this.

Pastor Paul

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