In the June 17th Midweek Connection video, we talked about how the heat of anger and the sadness of grief are human emotions God has given us. Look at the Psalms. Psalm 137 shares the story of a nation in exile. In their sorrow, they cannot imagine singing the Lord’s song along the river of Babylon. Infuriated by their circumstances,they want to see their oppressors suffer as they have suffered. They express these feelings freely to God; we are also invited to express ourselves.
As Christians, we recognize that we have choices about how to express these feelings in our words and deeds. Particularly in anger, the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephisians 4:26 to “be angry but do not sin.” Paul knows that our anger can lead to serious negative consequences. Anger is a fire that can burn a house down--but fire can also cook a meal! God calls us to respond to our anger in ways that glorify God. We are not to cause others harm with our words or deeds, but to find ways to build up our community.
What might that look like? Here are a few ideas we have come up with:
Pray: Right now, there are a lot of hurt, scared people in our community. Pray that God’s comfort and Christ’s peace surround them during this time. Ask God how might God be calling you to share peace and comfort with those who have been impacted by this turbulent time? How might your prayers be made manifest in and through you?
Give: Give a gift to the church in honor or in memory of your father for Father’s Day. Your gift can go towards our General Fund or designate it to something. Two possibilities include the Youth Fund, so that next year our youth can do something that enriches their faith. Another is the Prayer Garden. Just before the pandemic hit, we were working on landscaping plans to make the space outside the sanctuary a beautiful place people can connect with God and creation. Note your specific designation on or with your gift.
Support: Send letters of encouragement to our local law enforcement and/or the Union County Incident Management Team. During the local protests in response to the death of George Floyd, the Police Department responded professionally and safely to an incident involving an armed protester who assaulted a police officer. Also, the Union County Incident Management Team has been working countless hours in response to the Covid 19 outbreak. Everyone likes to know that people notice and appreciate their hard work! Let’s support their efforts on behalf of our community. The Management Team’s address is 1106 K Avenue. La Grande Police/Sheriff’s Dept address is 1109 K Avenue.
Connect: Reach out to one another in phone calls and cards. Connect with your neighbors, with proper precautions to protect each other, of course! Make some bread or cookies and pass them on to a neighbor you haven’t seen in awhile. People are isolated and afraid. You can be the calming presence of Christ in their lives. Wear a mask as a gift of loving your neighbor.
Do you have other ideas that can help our church respond during this fearful time in ways that glorify God? Let us know! Know that God in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit is holding you and this community in the palm of His hands.
Pastors Keith and Laura