Scattered but Worshipping Together

Sunday, March 22, 2020

So, yes I am a pastor. I care for a church of people and each Sunday for 127 years there has been prayer happening here in this Field, barring bad weather or the occasional single Sunday away. I still don't know what happened here during the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-1920, though I'm looking though old minutes. But I don't think they closed the doors then. But for this pandemic our doors are closed for who know how long.

So how do we provide some sense of community and corporate worship and prayer experience for the people who normally worship here. Many churches are internet streaming empty sanctuaries with preachers preaching from the front. That's fine for them. But we figure we're not really streaming people. For some they would have difficulty making it work, for others, they don't even have the internet in their homes yet.

So we settled on the idea of Scattered but Worshipping Together. We prepared a sheet of prayers and scripture readings along with a short devotional. At 11 am on Sunday, families, couples and individuals throughout the area gathered in their homes to worship "Together." Early reviews report that it was a significant time for people. This may not end up being a season of lack, but a season of abundance, as people worship together in ways maybe they've never experienced before.

Its the community people miss the most. Connection and community is a big part of our long history. I hope we don't have to do this for an extended period of time but it remains to be seen how long this will go.

I am comforted by the fact that none of this is a surprise to God. Christ has been the head of his church for over 2000 years and has seen it through some pretty dark days. He did warn us that in this world we would have troubles.

Boy, was he right

...and all manner of things shall be well.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I left my office late again tonight, I think it was about 7:00 pm. After another day of trying to arrange for care and worship options for a church that won’t be meeting for who knows how long.

We’ve got some good ideas but they all will be with very few people ever together.

Anyway as I left my office this was the view greeting me. And the sense of those ancient words were there, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.”


When toilet paper was gold

Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Canada and especially the province of Alberta are beginning to clamp down pretty strongly now. Schools are closed, community activities are shut down, and churches are strongly encouraged to close. Starbucks, Tim Hortons and McDonalds are only open for drive through now.

Any fever or runny nose and you’re in your home for two weeks. All returning travelers are expected to go stay home for two weeks.

But we haven’t been asked to remain at home full time yet. So Lauralea and I headed out to get some supplies and fresh air.

At the large store we went to, I was walking down one aisle and the doors to the stock room suddenly opened. It seemed like slow motion but out came two men pulling a pallet of TOILET PAPER! We haven’t seen that stuff in stores for over weeks.

I was the only one near them realizing just what it was they were taking out to the aisle. So I turned and began to follow behind them.

Then, in what may be a uniquely Canadian response, people around us began to realize what was being brought out. Then they, in turn, began to join the line forming behind me, following in procession.

We followed behind, the line growing a bit more, until they parked the pallet. We waited while they got the plastic off and then thanked us for waiting. I stepped up and took one pack as the limit was one, and the line behind me did the same.

What an odd time this is.

Friday Email for Malmo Mission Covenant Church

Friday, March 13, 2020
"For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness,
but one of power, love,
and sound judgment.”
2 Timothy 1:7, HCSB

Dear friends,

It feels like in some ways we have lived a whole year in the past week. And in ways we may not yet understand, the world has changed as a result of this recent health challenge.

We want to assure you that we here at Malmo are working to think through what these things mean for us and to create ways to worship together and be community for one another in wise ways. We meet the Chief Medical Health Officer for Alberta's recommendations for meeting and so we feel that we should gather this Sunday but we want to offer some points for consideration. These will help us be wise and caring for one another.

I also want to remind you that though the world has perhaps changed, God hasn’t changed. Hebrews 13:8 reminds us that "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” So at some level we need to place more of our trust in Him than we may in our earthly systems to save us. To live in the truth of that which we know for sure, (Jesus) more than we live in the confusion of the world. Yes we are choosing to be wise making prudent decisions, yet the truth is our God is bigger and wiser than it all.

We are praying for our families and friends today, some of whom are in quarantine awaiting the results of their tests. It's difficult to maintain some sense of normal while not playing mind games with oneself. Pray with me for them, God knows who they are.

And we are praying that God may use this to reach a lost people, perhaps even a whole country. Pray with me for this community, this province, this world.

Let us be the light of the world as we seek to live out that; "God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

In Christ alone,
Pastor Randall

How do we care for each other during this season of Covid-19?
Here’s some things that we have in place here at Malmo:

*Hand sanitizer stations are available for you throughout the church.

*A part of our ongoing routine is to disinfect the door handles, banisters and light switches.

*We remind you to frequently wash your hands, especially before handling food.

*We ask that you consider not hugging or shaking hands for this season.

*If you’re not feeling well, or if you’re not comfortable being in a public gathering, you may want to consider just remaining at home.

We are continuing to monitor the situation and more precautions may be required in the future.
Our hope and prayer is that we will not be driven by fear or paranoia, but continue to live in truth and with grace as we care for one another, wisely.

If you have any questions or concerns please talk to the Pastors or Church Leadership.

What’s true for you?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The whole world seems to be falling apart these days. Virus, stocks, oil prices, grain prices, my goodness. I wonder if the real virus isn’t the fear that is driving so many people.

Oddly it seems that people have fixated on toilet paper to fix things. That somehow TP will solve all the problems of a virus no less.

Mob mentality is a very powerful human dynamic. These days because of the speed of the internet and social media, a good mob can be built in mere hours. Fear rips through cultures and whole countries in a day. That’s faster than ever in the history of the world. For some of those reasons, we really don’t know how this ends.

But we need to fight the fear that drives us. We combat fear with truth. What is the truth that we know. We reject the lies that we hear, and rather choose the truth. For previous generations, what was written down was true. For today's generations, whatever I think is true, is true. Neither are right.

But isn’t it interesting that at the exact moment in time that we need truth in our society to help us fight the lies, there is less and less room for truth. From our leaders to our media, from our schools to our work, what is truth anymore? Truth is manipulated to accomplish an agenda. “It’s true if I say it is,” yet we all know that isn’t true.

Sorry, I’m getting a little preachy.

My pic today is my love, Lauralea. What we share is true, is real. Through the challenges of life, the ups and downs. Truth. And Jesus is Truth to me as well. He said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. That's what I've experienced from him, and with him.

We were in town together. Her going to a doctors appointment. Me visiting an elderly shut in. I took this just before we went for some supper, Wendy’s burgers for the win. (I know, big spender!)

Hang on to the truth or the Truth that you know.

Because can there ever be too many radios?

Tuesday, March 03, 2020

Well, mostly a day off anyway. (With more ways to contact me, I get more contacts. Phone, txt, email, messenger, direct message, etc.)

So anyway, we stayed at home today and I played radio. I’ve got a little collection of radios because honestly, there’s always room for one more radio. They all behave differently but they all do the amazing work of turning radio waves into audio. Waves that are all around us and can only be heard with the power of a radio. Yup pretty amazing.

With my Amateur Radio station, I can shoot radio waves around the earth or bounce them off the moon and back again. I can talk to satellites or be in the middle of no place with no cell coverage and call for help or a chat. All from a station that I made myself. Like I said, it’s all very mind blowing.
While most people don't really get it, there are some who do. For me, they are the fun ones to hang around with.

So when I get some free time, I love to play radio. Even after all these years it’s still just a miracle how it all works.

Randall VE6VOR

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