A Word From the Pastors | 10-7-21

A Word from the Pastors

    On Monday, October 4 just one single ticket purchased by a person or persons won the $699.8 million jackpot in the Powerball drawing. That ticket was sold in California. This jackpot was not the highest ever but did make the list of top ten winnings for lottery drawings.

Just thought I’d ask… Did any of YOU happen to be “shopping” in California recently?

I read online that the odds on Monday of winning that grand prize were just 1 in 292.2 million. You were more than 1000 times as likely, I read, “to find a pearl in an oyster shell, get struck by lightning, or date a supermodel”. Now I’ve hardly ever gambled (did bet on the New York Jets and the New York Mets centuries ago when each of those teams won their first championships)… I don’t remember ever buying a lottery ticket… and I have often said that – if I were to win or receive a huge amount of money – I would probably seek to divest myself of the burden and the temptation of it as soon as I could. So all this is outside my understanding. However, even I could understand that these were “high” odds, meaning that winning that jackpot was quite unlikely.

Did you buy a Powerball ticket for that recent drawing? Were you perhaps one of the smaller winners? Do you enjoy gambling? Do the posted odds, depending on how high or low they are, either cause you to hesitate or spark you to purchase even more chances?

(This isn’t the reason that I’ve written these previous sentences, by the way, but I do pray that you are not battling a gambling addiction. My dad always said that the dollar that is still in your pocket is worth more than the ten dollars you hope you can get by gambling that one dollar. He didn’t gamble either. However, I do remember one evening as an adult visiting Mom and Dad in their home in Reading when the lottery winning number was being announced on the TV. Dad told Mom, Gwen, and me to be quiet so that he could hear. I said, “Dad, I thought you taught me not to gamble.” Dad answered, “Yeah, but this is a big one. Hush so that I can hear if I won!”)

Here now is the thought I have. Just suppose. If you had a 1 in 500 chance of winning that October 4 Powerball drawing, would you have rushed out to purchase one or several or many tickets? Don’t those odds seem quite “low”, that is, wouldn’t the chance of winning appear to be more likely? Well, this past September 15, 2021, the United States hit another pandemic milestone: One out of every 500 Americans has died of COVID-19 since the country’s first infection last year. Some Americans are still claiming that COVID-19 is a myth, that serious illness is a myth, that the 707,000 reported U.S. deaths are a myth. Some Americans are crowing about “my personal freedom” with less or no consideration for the safety and health of others. Some Americans have turned a medical issue into a political debate. And some Americans are deciding that they don’t want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine because they are free and refuse to be forced, or because they are political and refuse to “cross the line”, or because they think that this particular vaccine was so rushed and is too medically unreliable, or because they’ve read some “alternative news” that receiving the vaccine will magnetize their body or mark them for hell and damnation when they die, or because they believe that they are personally healthy and strong and wise and can avoid the harshness of an infection. Perhaps all those thoughts and reactions seem true. But if almost all the people of our nation who are right now dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated persons, it seems to me, a non-gambler who is interpreting the fatalities in a non-scientific way, that an unvaccinated person has a 1 in 500 chance of losing his or her life. That, to me, would be a big gamble not worth taking. I keep wondering why we are the world leaders in COVID Infections and COVID deaths. What aren’t we doing right in response to a dangerous medical crisis?

 

News 

    • We hope you might have the time and the heart to join St. Peter’s for its 36th Annual Women’s Day this coming weekend. For the second year, it will be online. Make yourself a good breakfast, healthy and tasty, and join us for the Prayer Breakfast on Saturday at 10:00AM. Then return on your computer or phone Sunday morning at 10:00AM for our Worship together. Our theme is “We Are Stronger Together”. And we truly are, by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, by the love of God, and by the power of the Holy Spirit! Young and old, men and women, singles and families, we invite you to join us. A tradition at St. Peter’s is to ask for a special Women’s Day Offering each year, in addition to regular weekly giving that supports the work of our congregation here in Philadelphia and far beyond our community. This year’s Women’s Day Offering will be used to help replace the carpet in Knapp Chapel (named after a former St. Peter’s pastor, and the carpet simply disintegrated into dust over the years) and the carpet in Livermore Lounge (named after another former St. Peter’s, and this one got too many rips and  tears and snags in it.)
    • Our two recent fundraisers, both car washes with some food, helped raise $1,411 towards the ELCA Youth Gathering that will be held in Minneapolis next summer. We anticipate needing   maybe about $14,500 more to make it to Minnesota. We’re grateful for the volunteer help and the financial support that others have given! Watch for future fundraisers.
    • Our Church Council meeting, on Monday, October 11, will be a Zoom meeting at 7:00PM.
    • One Girl Scout troop has resumed in-person meetings here at St. Peter’s on Fridays at 6:30PM.
  • Senior Ministry has been gathering in-person on “Whole Foods distribution days” for Bible Study; the next one would be Wednesday, October 13 at 12:00 noon.
  • We still have a few preparations to complete in our Video Equipment Projectand are carefully monitoring the science and the statistics of this continued COVID-19 pandemic as we move toward “hybrid worship” that will include connection and interaction between “in-person” worshipers and “remote” worshipers both local and scattered in other states each Sunday. It’s not a race rushing to the finish but a careful journey of faith forward together. As we wait and pray and prepare and get excited for the future, please know that the Zoom worship together in the past and present has been such a powerful blessing for us old pastors throughout these many weeks and months!

We are praying that each of you is experiencing the peace and humility of God’s forgiving grace… the joyful presence and power of Christ’s love in your life… and the guiding courage and sustaining hope that the Holy Spirit bestows! Because of life’s troubles and the world’s temptations, it has probably been difficult in every time and place throughout history, including our own “here and now” moment, to live faithfully and to love fervently. And sometimes the hardest victory is the victory over self. May you keep the faith for this day, this week, and a lifetime! But don’t keep it to yourself. Reinvest your faith in others. Someone somewhere is in need of the good news of God’s love. 

Stay safe! Stay sane! Stay in the Spirit!

    Pastor Gwen & Pastor Neil

Upcoming Events

Jun
19
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jun 19 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jun
23
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 23 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jun
30
Sun
2024
10:00 am Sunday Worship Service
Sunday Worship Service
Jun 30 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will be gathering together for worship service on Zoom using the following information: MEETING ID: 5977365682 MEETING PASSWORD: 204934 You can also join us for...
Jul
3
Wed
2024
10:30 am Whole Foods Distribution
Whole Foods Distribution
Jul 3 @ 10:30 am – 12:00 pm
Whole Foods Distribution Use entrance on Briar Rd. to access the lower classroom area. Need more information? Check out this event’s ministry page.
Jul
5
Fri
2024
8:30 am Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Senior Food Box Distribution @ St. Peter's Rhoda Hall
Jul 5 @ 8:30 am – 10:00 am
Check out the Senior Food Program’s page for more information.