Our Complete Trust in God from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.
Caring Connections with Bishop Laurie from Iowa Annual Conference on Vimeo.
Listen to Caring Connections Podcast for May 6, 2020
Grace and peace to each one of you. This week I have been pondering Psalm 31, which is one of the lectionary lessons of this week. The Psalmist writes:
I take refuge in you, Lord.
Please never let me be put to shame.
Rescue me by your righteousness!
2 Listen closely to me!
Deliver me quickly;
be a rock that protects me;
be a strong fortress that saves me!
3 You are definitely my rock and my fortress.
Guide me and lead me for the sake of your good name!
4 Get me out of this net that’s been set for me
because you are my protective fortress.
5 I entrust my spirit into your hands;
you, Lord, God of faithfulness -
you have saved me.
14 But me? I trust you, Lord!
I affirm, “You are my God.”
15 My future is in your hands.
As you and I continue to live a quarantined life in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, we place our complete trust in the God who made you and me as unique one-of-a-kind individuals, created for good works. The best “work” we can do now is to continue to practice social distancing; to continue to stay connected with one another, especially those who are living alone, or are isolated; to continue to tend to our own spiritual life; and to continue to offer our resources through prayer, financial giving, and offering our time, to help those who are unemployed, those who are sick, and those who are feeling hopeless. The stories of how United Methodists are making a difference continue to inspire us.
Keith Pitts is the pastor in Delhi and is part of the DELCO circuit in the Northeast District. Keith says that Delaware County Pay it Forward is now present in Delhi. If you have stuff to donate or are in need of anything, bring it to the church or take what you need. Lots of food and necessities are available. Oh, and Keith is graduating from the University or Dubuque Theological seminary in a few weeks. Congratulations, Keith!
St. Mark’s UMC in Cedar Rapids in the East Central District, under the leadership of Bonnie Koeppen, has a food pantry that is open twice a month and is distributing pre-packaged bags of food outside the building by a small crew of church members and the pantry director Vicki Eaton.
In addition, African Women Empowered in Cedar Rapids has been hard at work making masks for donations as well as providing them to students unable to leave the campus of Mount Mercy University and also to other local organizations that need masks.
Pastor Dave Weesner of Knoxville UMC in the South Central District, did a great job with the children’s time on Easter, using the butterfly as an illustration for Jesus rising from the dead. Dave also invited people to send in pictures of butterflies that they have drawn. District Superintendent Moody Colorado shared the idea with other pastors, including his friends in the Philippines. Each Sunday DS Moody listens to different preachers so he can get to know the pastors in his district. Now some of DS Moody’s friends in the Philippines are subscribing to Knoxville First UMC and sending text messages about how much they enjoy worship live on Facebook. Who knows where the gospel goes and how lives are touched and transformed when the Holy Spirit is at work!
One more story from Lanette Plambeck, our Director of Clergy and Leadership Excellence. Lanette writes, “I think one of the very subtle ways God is showing up in this season is that I hear story after story of folks actually getting to know their neighbors. Whether small town, county seat, suburban or urban areas—folks are out walking and maintaining social distancing. A smile turns into a wave, and then the wave turns into a greeting, and then folks pause to have brief and meaningful conversations. In my little neighborhood in Altoona, four of my closest neighbors attend either Altoona First, Ivy Centennial, Pleasant Hill or Des Moines Grace. We have talked over the back fence about family, the ministries of our conference, the hope we all have for our denomination, and how COVID-19 is calling us to re-center on faith and meaningful pursuits. It has been lovely.”
Thank you, my brothers and sisters in Christ, for your ministry in these difficult times.
Let us pray.
We entrust our spirits into your hands; you, Lord, God of faithfulness—you have saved us. We trust you, Lord! We affirm, “You are our God.” Our future is in your hands. Amen.