Message from Pastor Karen Jones

July 16, 2019

“What is the meaning of life?”  That question is far more direct and interesting than, “How was the traffic?”

So, I think about it. And I remember Elie Wiesel. Wiesel survived the World War II Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald and death camp of Auschwitz. After liberation, he lived in France, Israel and the United States, where he advocated on behalf of victims of hate and persecution
around the world. Two years ago, this past week, he died, at the age of 87.

Wiesel dedicated his life to the fight against all hatred, and for the affirmation that every man and woman carries with them dignity, formed in the image of God.

During his life, Wiesel was called a messenger of peace, a humanitarian and a survivor. When asked, he liked to call himself simply, a witness. And as a witness, Wiesel said, it was his duty to never let those who suffered be forgotten. “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” he said. “Sometimes we must interfere.”

There was a statement made in the Irish Times by a Connemara man after he was arrested for a car accident. “There were plenty of onlookers, but no witnesses.”

Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Gospel reading for this past Sunday was from Saint Luke. The story of the good Samaritan. I like Thomas Merton’s take, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.  That is not our business and, in fact, it is
nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love.”

Here’s the deal:

“The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind.” ~David Orr

The world needs, God needs more witnesses! Will you be a witness to the world of the love of God for you and all humankind? Will you be a witness today to the dignity of every man, woman and child on this earth? God needs us to see, to witness God’s work in the world – not simply to be
onlookers. They’ll know we are His disciples by our love! Witness on!
~Karen
[–taken from a devotional by Terry Hershey]


March 11, 2019

It is good to be back in the office (even with no phones or internet!)! I have missed you all so much! I am so appreciative of your texts, emails, cards and Facebook messages. You have encouraged me and God has used your graciousness to minister to me in ways you will never know. Thank you! You are an amazing group of fellow travelers. Thank you, too, for welcoming Carla and Jim to our congregation. Knowing you were in capable hands gave me so much peace.

Travelers. I have used my time away as a pilgrimage of sorts —learning to appreciate all that has gone before and looking to what the future may hold— to leave what was known and familiar and comfortable and to venture into a new, unknown future. While there have been days of uncertainty there has been God’s even hand guiding me. While there have been lonely days yet I have not felt alone for I know God has been and continues to be with me every day.

Throughout the season of Lent, we will use the idea of pilgrimage as a way of looking at scripture as we journey with Jesus to the cross. For many Protestants the idea of pilgrimage is not a familiar concept. Pilgrimage is a trip to a sacred place and along the way a time for self-reflection and time with God. One of the most famous is the Camino de Santiago in Spain and Portugal. Santiago is Spanish for James. It is a pilgrimage to the church where St. James is supposedly buried and the “end of the world” to which he took the Gospel. I have a friend who has walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain 12 times. In fact, she did her Ph.D. dissertation on the Camino and takes a group every other year. It is on my big bucket list of things to do. I hope to walk the pilgrim’s way next summer. (It will take me that long to get prepared and in shape!) My friend was one of the advisors for the movie, The Way, which stars Martin Sheen. The movie depicts several people’s experiences on the Camino / on pilgrimage. You will have several opportunities to watch the film and I believe it will help our understanding of pilgrimage. It may not be suitable for our youngest friends. We’ll have child care available on Saturday, March 23 at the church. Please plan to join us at one of the times below:

  • Sunday, March 17 @ the parsonage @ 6pm (Popcorn and the like provided)
  • Wednesday, March 20 in the basement at 5pm with the youth
  • Saturday, March 23 @ 6pm in the basement (we’ll have pick-up food)(Children meet in the fellowship hall @ 5:45 for pizza and a movie)

The symbol of a pilgrim on the Camino and other trails is the sea shell.

We all walk our unique paths but we are all headed to the same destination – Jesus Christ. Join us as we make our pilgrimage through Lent toward the cross of Christ and then on to Resurrection!

Karen


January 14, 2019

Dear Friends,

I want to thank you for your prayers for Martin, me and our family as Martin was in the hospital. His body was simply worn out and I was blessed to be with him in his last days and moments on this earth. We made the decision together that living on the vent was not living and that entering into the glory of God was far better than anything else this life could offer. I am so glad that most of you got to know Martin. He was blessed by knowing you!

I continue to be overwhelmed at your outpouring of love as so many of you attended Martin’s memorial service. You have sent virtual hugs, cards and food that have blessed and continue to bless us. I thank you for your patience with my being away so much during the last month. It was so strange not to be with you on Christmas Eve. I have a new appreciation for “no room in the inn” as I spent that night trying to sleep in the ICU waiting room. God has used my time away to teach me some things I‘ll share along the way. I feel like I am on a pilgrimage of sorts as God works out what my life will look like as I lean more on Him and draw near to Him. (I wrote to you several weeks ago about drawing near to God. I believe there is something in that idea that we all need to embrace as individuals, couples, families and as a church family…more to come on that later, too!)

I continue to give thanks for our staff who have stepped up and in to fill the void of my being away. Chris and Sarah did more than I could have expected in conducting the Hanging of the Greens and Christmas Eve services. A HUGE thank you to Ann Grant and her Altar Guild for all they did behind the scenes to make sure everything came off without a hitch. Thanks to the committees that have continued their work without missing a step.

You bless me beyond what words can express. As the Paul wrote, “I give thanks to God every time I think of you!” Let us continue on our service to our Lord, through His church, so that it might be said of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

Karen