A Word from the Pastors | Coronavirus Message 12-30-2021

Christmas

Yes, I was there that night.

It required 80 miles of travel, 80 pregnant miles of discomfort and pain, to get there so that we could be counted so that we could be registered so that we could be taxed by the Roman government, our overlords. Now I have no idea who imagined that I rode on a donkey to get there – How could a VERY PREGNANT girl like me even manage to get up on and stay on a donkey without falling off and without triggering my contractions along the way? So I walked those 80 miles. Now, maybe if Joseph could have afforded a camel… but Joseph couldn’t afford a camel… so I walked. That’s 80 pregnant miles. Try to imagine that if you can.

Pregnant. That’s a word. Pregnant and I didn’t know how. Pregnant and I can’t remember when. Pregnant and I hadn’t had sex with Joseph – soon to be my husband – or with any other man. Ever. Not even once. Never ever. Pregnant and was very embarrassed. Pregnant and I was confused. Pregnant and I couldn’t explain. Pregnant and people looked and pointed and whispered. Pregnant and Joseph was troubled, trying hard to understand, but somehow still willing to marry me.

Pregnant. That’s more than a word, it’s like a bunch of questions. Pregnant just because an angel told me one day? Pregnant somehow by the spirit of God? Pregnant like my old Aunt Elizabeth who had never had children, who was surely too old to become pregnant and too old to give birth? Pregnant with God’s Son? Pregnant with a future king straight out of David’s line? Pregnant and poor? Pregnant and blessed? Pregnant and my little baby, my little baby Jesus, will bring salvation to this world? HOW CAN THIS BE?

So many others know what it is like to actually give birth to a child. All I can say is “Wow!”

“Wow!” just having this life coming forth from inside your own body!

“Wow!” with the bright star and the singing angels and the joyous shepherds!

“Wow!” with what I have sensed and what I have heard about my baby!

“Wow!” with rich foreigners seeking him to worship him, and armed soldiers seeking him to murder him!

My precious Jesus, when I gaze at you I wonder every day why God chose me. I wonder, but I never regret. When you were born, it was all a divine mystery. And a stunning miracle. And a humble joy. I don’t know what the future holds for you or for me, but I will do my best to care for you and to raise you. I love you, Jesus. You have already changed my life forever. And I can only imagine the change you will bring to our world – NOT for a moment, NOT for a lifetime, but forever. WOW!

[Our CHRISTMAS EVE worship, held on Zoom and Facebook for a second year, was nevertheless a time of joy and wonder. It was great seeing a video of our Choirs, dressed in red and protected by masks, standing in our Sanctuary and singing the good news of Christmas! Our “sermon” for the evening was “I was there: Five witnesses describe the birth of Jesus” and we listened to Aunt Elizabeth, a Roman soldier, the innkeeper, a shepherd boy, and Mary the young mother. Our thanks to Rita, Robbie, Roland, Brandon, and Jaimee! Because of a technological glitch (there were several in the worship) Mary’s testimony was lost halfway through and is printed above. Thank you to all who gathered for worship and to those who helped lead worship and to Veronica for guiding us through the technological glitches! 

Christmas Season

How have you been spending this week of Christmas? Perhaps you visited with family. Perhaps you had some time off from work or school. Perhaps you returned a few gifts or shopped for things that you didn’t receive or even ask for from others. Maybe you ventured out – so very carefully in these continued days still shadowed by the threat and dangers of COVID – to take in movies, sporting events, a meal with others, or some other forms of entertainment.  Maybe you cleaned house and tried to restore some order. Maybe you just rested and relaxed, read a book, watched more TV. And perhaps you have already returned to the normal routines of your job.

Even after Christmas Day… and sometimes before the twelve days of the Christmas Season have ended… life goes on. But hopefully it doesn’t go on just like before Christmas. Life for each and all of us ought to go on transformed by the joy and wonder of Jesus Christ born for us, among us, and within us. Jesus was born to give us new life, born to deliver us from grave and from hell. This makes a dramatic difference inside of us. And we have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the world all around us just by responding to God’s gift of grace with an attitude of gratitude and deeds of generosity and compassion. Our stirring Guest Preacher on the First Sunday after Christmas, Mr. Joe Davis (artist, educator, and speaker with faith to share) laid out God’s invitation and God’s charge to each of us with his presence, his personality, his witness, and his powerful poem, “Show Up”. Let’s do that! Let’s do that for each other, with one another, and for the sake of our sad and searching world. Let’s take the new life that we have received in Jesus Christ and give life to others.

COUNTING UP TO 2022!

    For many years (except December 31, 2017 when both Pastors were quite ill and the weather was frigid!) St. Peter’s has observed the transition from one year into the next with a “New Year’s Eve Potluck Party” followed by an 11:00PM “New Year’s Watchnight Service” with songs and prayers, scripture and sermon, hugs of peace and love, and the sharing of Holy Communion. For a second straight year, because of this COVID pandemic, we will not have the Party or the Watchnight worship.

A simple New Year’s Eve prayer:

Jesus, I thank you! Jesus, please forgive me!

        Jesus, lead me and guide me! Jesus, empower me and use me!

        I love you, Lord! Help me to share your love in the world!  Amen.

CONTINUING INTO 2022

There are three things worth celebrating. First, St. Peter’s has received a $2,500 grant for our “Video Equipment Project” from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as part of its “Forward Together in Faith” campaign. This was the maximum amount that we could have received, and some who applied didn’t receive. Second, we believe that we have now completed all equipment purchase, installation, and preparation in our Sanctuary that will enable “hybrid worship” that would include connection and interaction between our “in-person” worshipers and our “remote” worshipers… now we just have to learn how to operate. Third, God’s Word became flesh! Let us receive and celebrate this gift of life in Christ and become, through him, God’s blessed children who walk in the light and shine the truth of God’s love to others.

KNOW OF OUR LOVE, OUR GRATITUDE, AND OUR PRAYERS FOR YOU!

Pastor Neil & Pastor Gwen

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.