The Rejoicing of Spring

 

janet striegelGood Afternoon fellow North Raleigh United Methodist Church friends and members!

You may ask “What’s so good about it?” I would answer, “This is the day that the Lord has made! Rejoice and be glad in it!”

I rejoice in the beauty and renewal of Spring. I rejoice in the growth of new leaves on trees that sparkle with a fresh green seen at no other time. I sit at my kitchen table and am grateful for the cardinals, the robins, the wrens, the chickadees, and yes, even the squirrels who enjoy my bird feeders. I even, kind of, like the pollen. God’s majestic wonder is creating new growth, flowers that sustain all living things, bees that will enrich our food supply, and an environment where God’s wondrous miracles take place every day!

This virus and the limitations it has placed on our abilities to gather has caused many of us to be isolated, lonely, and alone, especially at this time when our church family wants to share so deeply in the celebration of our risen Lord. We want to participate in the season of Lent; feel the sadness of Maundy Thursday; share the desperation of Good Friday; and we particularly want to rejoice in the Risen Lord on Easter Sunday with family and friends!

Those things being said, I offer my reflection on this new and different time in our lives. Busy! Busy! Busy! Oh my! Yes, I, and many of my fellow church members, have been so busy doing so much “stuff”! Then, wham! All of that stopped! What was I going to do!? What was any of us to do?!

I have found that this forced retreat in my life has caused me to slow down, look around, and notice the amazing beauty of God’s creation! I’ve spent more time in prayer, in silence, in appreciation of the people in my life. I smile a lot thinking of my NR usher friends, who always make me smile! I smile thinking of my Stephen Ministry friends who live a life of compassion; I think about my chair-mates or pew-mates at Sunday morning worship; I smile thinking about friends who serve on the same committees or in small groups that I do; and, I love thinking about the missions and ministries our church creates and sponsors.

I’ve found my iPad (and phone) to be a source of comfort and inspiration. If you have never tried FaceBook, give it a try! North Raleigh United Methodist Church has its own page. Here, there are many sharing the work of the church. Duke, Ashley and Alan each have there own page. “Friend” them and your lives will be enriched almost daily with inspiration and humor! Many, many church members are on FB where we share pictures, stories and parts of our lives. It’s almost like “being there” as we respond to each other.

Also online, give UMC.org a try. It’s a great resource for all things Methodist such as an area called Rethink Church where there’s a wonderful piece on how to go about centering prayer, the practice where one focuses on God’s calming presence. There are articles to read, scripture to learn and opportunities to grow in faith. This enforced “quiet time” offers us so much if we’re willing to see what’s there!

While you’re online, explore our web site. There are so many things to learn here. You can hear previous sermons, listen to podcasts (or learn how to), check out our new missions or ministries, find ways to stay current on your pledge, see how your involvement, even remotely, can make a difference in our world. Be blessed by being the blessing.

May Peace and God’s blessed calmness be with you,

Janet Striegel
Lay Leader

 

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