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Pastor Paul: Drawing closer to God in Lent

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In these days of “sheltering in place” and “social distancing” let us remember that we are people who “self-quarantine” in this season of Lent.  These are the 40 (quarantine) days when people intentionally enter into a different way of being so as to better orient their lives toward God and neighbor.  How fitting, that we find ourselves living with our neighbors pre-eminently in mind, as we keep them in mind every time we wash our hands and stay away from crowds.  These is something in this discipline that draws us closer to God, as many appreciate all the more the things we take for granted, and we celebrate the gift of community in new and creative ways, as we look to God for healing and hope.

Consider, if you will, the biblical references to the 40’s on the journeys of God’s people:  Noah and his family, 40 days/nights on an ark; Moses spent 40 days/nights on Mt. Sinai (on the 40 years the Israelites spent wandering the wilderness); Elijah walked for 40 days to Mt. Horeb; Jesus in the wilderness for 40 days/nights following his baptism. It turns out we are a quarantined people, not to separate ourselves from the world, but to immerse ourselves more deeply in it, including the times of fracture and fear, but to know that we are not alone, but rather accompanied by God. 

Pastor Paul

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Pastor Paul: Together, toward online worship

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Greetings to you from Bethany Lutheran Church on Bainbridge Island … and from First Lutheran Church in Poulsbo.  I say that because I have spent time with our colleagues at First the past few days, as we plan together a concerted response to the coronavirus situation.  Presiding Bishop Elizabeth Eaton always reminds us that “we are the church together,” and our congregations are living into this understanding, finding ways to faithfully be the church … together.  Starting this weekend, neither Bethany nor First will be holding worship services as a physically gathered community, but we will be providing a worship service online.  Leadership from both congregations is planning and will conduct the service for the foreseeable future (links will be provided on our websites). This week, Pastor Allison Shane will be our preacher, and it looks as though I will be presiding, as our community gathers in a different way.  I am grateful to the leadership at First, and to Jonathan McClung, our videographer, for making this happen.  Stay tuned … as we all find ways to be the church TOGETHER.

From Bethany/First,

Pastor Paul

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