There is a passage in Philippians (4.8) …
… whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
These words of encouragement come in the context of Paul urging the Philippians to “rejoice in the Lord always!” (4.4) and “I can do all things through him who strengthens me” (4.13).
They also come in a first-century social context of dog-eat-dog, back-stabbing pursuit of selfish interests among the leading officials of the city of Philippi. A lot of negativity. A lot of selfish opinions and self-destructive hate.
At a time when there is so much negativity in our world today, we can use the encouragement Paul shared with the Philippians. As we experience the most difficult public health crisis of our generation, we need the hope Paul brings. As the pandemic drags on and we grow weary of wearing our masks and washing our hands and keeping safe social distances, we need the encouraging words, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Today our leaders have differing opinions about how to address our public health crisis. Some say we should wear masks, social distance, and practice personal hygiene very carefully. Others say none of that matters. We need to just let the disease run its course, they say.
The public disagreements are confusing. Even dangerous. Michigan’s Governor Whitmer became the target of extremist terrorists who wanted to kidnap and kill her, because of her policies on how to handle the pandemic.
Listening to the cacophony of so many different voices opens one to thinking and even doing things that are not safe. Some voices (really almost all the voices) are designed to make you angry, outraged at your fellow citizens. They divide and they engender hate.
Paul’s words bring healing and hope. Instead of feeding the sinful self with anger and hate, think about the things that make our world and our lives better … whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable, “if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
That is a refreshing change from the daily barrage of hate and confusion. Pray that each one of these aspects of our life with God be realized daily and often in your life. Pray that when you fail, when you are drawn back into the fray of confusion, of misinformation and hate, that you receive God’s kindness through a repentant heart, a heart washed clean by the blood of our crucified Christ, a heart that is empowered by God’s Spirit to do better.
To love God, to love your neighbor, and to love each other.
UPDATE ON WORSHIP AT FAITH
As everyone is fully aware, the regular worship of God’s house at Faith was interrupted back in March by the arrival of the corona virus pandemic. Some of you older members may recall your parents telling you about the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-20. We have a lot of information about that pandemic and how Americans responded in many similar ways we are responding today. Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.
So we have sought to keep each other safe by suspending in person worship. We moved our worship to recorded services online, until 13 September when we had our first outdoor communion service.
On 4 October we resumed our first and third Sunday communion services. On 4 October we had communion inside the sanctuary due to inclement weather. As the Fall weather continues to become colder, we will meet inside in small groups scheduled 20 minutes apart, beginning at 10:15 am.
FROM THE MICHIGAN DISTRICT
“Heart Issues are Hard Issues”
An In Person/Virtual Conference
October 15, 2020
Please visit the Michigan District website for details.
The Church has a more defined role to play in the present racial unrest. The unrest has exposed prejudices and biases which are exhibited in many ways. The Gospel-confessing Church—pictured by Jesus in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” (ESV)—has the privilege and responsibility of pushing forward with all the members of the body of Christ to educate about, and work to heal, the racial injustices that exist in society and, because we are sinners, in the Church as well. Join us on October 15 to learn together more about being a light to the world as we move forward in these tenuous times, praying for—and working towards—racial healing.
Please note: those who choose to attend this conference in person are required to wear a mask and adhere to proper social distancing protocols.
In the event we are unable to hold events with up to 50 people or more, we will look to gather either by circuits or all attend virtually. All registered attendees will receive the livestream link in the “Before You Go” email.
CEU’s are available for this conference. Download the CEU Form, complete, and send to Concordia Seminary.
PRAYERS OF FAITH
Please pray for all members of Faith.