Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 reminds us that there are natural seasons and rhythms to everything in life, including the work of making space in our lives for our relationship with God. It takes some work to find that space. There couldn’t be a better time than right now. We’re all at home. Our schedules aren’t just interrupted; they’re emptied. Our calendars aren’t full of anything for a little while. This is the time. Just like cleaning out closets, clearing space in your life takes time and a sense of obligation mixed with a sense of excitement and commitment. In Romans 6, Paul says, “You are no longer under the law but grace.” When Jesus restates the commandments, be hangs everything on love: love of God, neighbor, and self. You’ll need a combination of “law and grace”—a rule of law to get you started, and the experience of grace to keep you connected. You could try prayer, quiet, meditation, putting your hands to work—anything that focuses you on God’s goodness and presence in your life. If you are a morning person, getting up early for a meditative walk or a session of meditation is what will keep you personally connected to God. If you read every chance you get, throwing in a spiritual text or devotional reading with the other stuff you read will point you back toward God in the midst of your everyday life. If you are a people person, finding an accountability partner or prayer partner to talk through your questions, doubts, and God-moments with might be just the thing to help you clear that space for God. Decide on something you can easily do every day, and set a time to do it. It might help to set an alarm to remind you or ask someone to hold you accountable. This could be a great way to stay connected to each other while we can’t gather together for church. Grace helps us to stick with our new habit of being in a relationship with God and knits it into our being. It is what creates joy in your heart when you find the new spiritual practice that makes you feel really connected to God. It’s what makes you say, “This is really working!” Be gentle with yourself. Gentleness rather than criticism of yourself (when practice isn’t working) gives you space to find how you best connect with God. We struggle to commit ourselves to God if it seems we don’t need God or when it feels like committing ourselves to God means giving up control or changing our lives drastically. The key is giving yourself space to find that natural place, the natural rhythm, the right way to connect that works for you and keeps you close all the time. You won’t automatically end up right where you want to be with God. Just take a small step toward where you want to end up. Start that daily practice. Pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. You have the time right now, so go for it. Try a new household practice: how about a walk or drive around the neighborhood with everyone in your household, even the dog? Or a daily check-in as you reflect back on what you did and didn’t do that day to connect with God, what worked and what didn’t work? Next week we’ll be thinking about where you might be starting to see some new growth in your relationship with God. So, I encourage you to keep track during this liminal time—keep track of moments when you witness or feel God’s presence in your life. What were you doing? Is it something you can do again? Can it become a habit? Can it work its way into your life on a regular basis to remind you of your primary relationship—your relationship with God? Make some new habits; enjoy what they bring into your life; don’t discount what you’re afraid of, but try to move past it, and give yourself a break till you find what works. Let us know through where you’re seeing growth and new patterns and healthy habits emerge. If you feel comfortable doing so and would like to share your thoughts with others, post your experiences on the EHUMC Community Page on Facebook or send me a note email. I won’t publish your thoughts, but I would like to know how you are experiencing growth and how I can help. Let this time away from our normal rhythms be a fruitful time for all of us. Let’s keep our giving strong! There are several ways to continue to give to Embry Hills even when we cannot be together:
through the website: www.embryhillsumc.org/give
text to give: text ehumcgiving to 73256 with the amount example: if you would like to give $25 you text ehumcgiving $25 to 73256
mail your check to the church: we now have a more secure mailbox mounted by the door to the office to prevent mail theft
send your check through your bank
If you have any questions about your giving, contact Lori Cora at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need help with your method of giving, contact the office at email@example.com.
What this week looks like at EHUMC:
Our building is still closed. If you need access to the building, please contact Laura Briscoe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our activities are still suspended: no Wednesday Fellowship Dinner, no small groups or circles, no outside groups, and the Preschool is closed.
What to do in the meantime:
Keep up with our live broadcasts on facebook and other places we may be able to post them. We will keep you up to date on where we are posting videos.
We should all be checking on friends and neighbors by phone to discern any needs they may have. If you are able to help someone in the vulnerable category (aged 60+ or immuno-compromised), please be very careful about interactions. Consider leaving what they need at the front or back door.
Stay tuned for phone, email, and social media updates as they come in.
This is a great time to reach out to folks on our Caring Connections list of folks who are living in care facilities or are unable to get to church regularly. If you would like to send an encouraging note to someone contact Marcille Metaxas at email@example.com for names and addresses. This is a great family activity idea, too. Kids’ drawings always bring a lot of joy!
Pray for each other. Pray for those who are sick. Pray for those who are lonely during this time of social distancing. Pray for Peace.