Happy Wednesday, friends!

It’s finally sunny after what seemed like days of rain, snow, and cold weather. Today (Wednesday), I went home for lunch and was able to enjoy some time outside with my family. We had little picnic at the table in our wooded area. The kids swung on the vine that we discovered a few weeks ago. It was a joy-filled time.

I hope it’s okay that I’m providing a written check-in this week. I am just videoed out right now.

I have been busy these last several weeks. And, when I am busy, I get anxious – anxious about the things I need to get done. I struggle to sleep, as I consider how on earth I am going to get all the things done that need to get done.

Maybe you are fortunate enough to have had life slow down a bit for you to re-center and refocus. I haven’t been feeling that way; though, hopefully once the school year officially ends, it will get better.

Perhaps you are busying yourself in “quaratine,” too. Maybe you’re filling your days with work and/or home projects.

There is a study I’ll lead here sometime. It’s called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.” Don’t be intimidated by the title. It seems like something frightening, but it is actually a very meaningful study designed to help us know ourselves and move toward spiritual/emotional health, in order that we can experience God’s love.

I wanted to share an excerpt from the devotional that accompanies this study.

Scripture Reading: Luke 10:38 – 42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed— or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Mary and Martha represent two approaches to the Christian life.

Martha is actively serving Jesus, but she is also missing Jesus. She is busy in the “doing” of life. Her life is pressured and filled with distractions. Her duties have become disconnected from her love for Jesus. Martha’s problems, however, go beyond her busyness. I suspect that if Martha were to sit at the feet of Jesus, she would still be distracted by everything on her mind. Her inner person is touchy, irritable, and anxious.

Mary, on the other hand, is sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening to him. She is “being” with Jesus, enjoying intimacy with him, loving him, and taking pleasure in his presence. Her life has one center of gravity— Jesus. I suspect that if Mary were to help with the many household chores, she would not be worried or upset. Why? Her inner person has slowed down enough to focus on Jesus and to center her life on him.

Our goal is to love God with our whole being, to be consistently conscious of God through our daily life— whether we are stopped like Mary, sitting at the feet of Jesus, or active like Martha, taking care of the tasks of life.

Question to Consider
What things are worrying or upsetting you today?

Help me, O Lord, to be still and wait patiently for you (Psalm 37:7). I offer to you each of my anxieties and worries this day. Teach me to be prayerfully attentive and to rest in you as I enter into the many activities of this day. In Jesus’ name, amen[1]

[1] “Week One / Day 4: Morning Office.” Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day: a 40-Day Journey with the Daily Office, by Peter Scazzero, Zondervan, 2014, pp. 28–29.

A sunny May morning was made even nicer today when the 2020/2021 Womens Guild Officers gathered in the church parking lot for their traditional Service of Installation. Organized and led by returning President Betty Marlar, this annual ceremony will go down in the Guild’s records as “historical” for sure. Pastor Derek led the new officers through the installation liturgy, and all offered their Prayer of Dedication. In addition to Betty those in attendance were Martha Gray – returning Vice-President, Bonnie Niebuhr – returning Recording Secretary, Barbara Trueman – Corresponding Secretary, Carol Guthrie – Treasurer, Joan McMillin – returning Circle B Representative, Sharon Jenkins – returning Circle D Representative, Sonja Koning – returning Circle 3H Representative, Ingrid Cuppage – Returning Prayer Shawl Ministry Representative, and Winnie Tucker. Betty closed the gathering by letting everyone know that in lieu of the traditional presentation of a flower to each officer, a donation had been made by the Guild to the Community Relief Fund.
THE SUNDAY ZOOM FELLOWSHIP IS A ‘ZOOMING’ SUCCESS!!  Log on this Sunday for a few minutes to say “hello” to some of your church family. The Zoom meeting begins at 10:45 am and ends at 11:15 am. 
If you need assistance logging into Zoom, please call Pastor Derek at the church office. He will practice with you anytime Monday-Thursday.

To Join the Zoom Meeting, click here: 

Meeting ID: 676 788 260
Password: 077836
Pastor Derek’s online (Zoom) Bible Study of the Gospel of John continues through the month of May – Wednesdays at 10 am and Wednesdays at 6:30 pm. These studies are open to all church folks, who want to participate. Join any week when you’re able. The conversations are casual, and nobody is forced to speak.

If you need assistance logging onto Zoom, contact Pastor Derek at the church office, and he will help you get connected.
 Here is the remaining reading schedule:  5/13 – John chapters 7-12, 5/20 – John chapters 13-17, 5/27 – John chapters 18-21Here is the Zoom information for the morning class:Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 710 911 077
Password: 077780
Here is the Zoom Information for the evening class:Derek Hickman is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 481 333 578
Password: 078539
150 people in 41 households were served last week!! As of today, there will be 3 additional families this week.  This week our Friday distribution will move to the Leighton Elementary School parking lot.  The kitchen staff of the Aurora Schools will help to pack the food and supplies for each household. 

Are you looking for a way to help your neighbors in need while safely obtaining your groceries?  Sirna and Sons will supply fresh meats, dairy, fruits, veggies, and more straight to your car touch-free.  Orders can be made weekly with no commitment.  And here’s the best part: 15% of all orders received go to the Aurora Community Relief Fund . You may click here to check it out and make an online order.  Then all you have to do is pull up to the Leighton Elementary School parking lot on Thursdays 9 – 11:00 am and say your name – your groceries will be put into your car and you drive away!  You can order until 8:00 pm on Tuesdays for pick up the same week.  Any questions?  Call Liz Sutter at 216-570-6394.
There are so many charitable people helping to keep Aurora strong! A huge shout out to the Aurora location of Jersey Mikes.  They have been serving free kids meals to Aurora families in need for the last few Mondays.  A thank you also to the Executive Chef at Barrington, Jon Buchner, for generously donating 40+ meals to area senior citizens this past Friday.