March 13

I am torn.  Sunday at Grace do we put locks on our TP dispensers or do we advertise, “A free roll for every attender.”  ☺ Truth is, since one of these packs is already spoken for, I probably don’t have enough rolls for every attender.  Plus, news reports are that yesterday Dilworth, Walmart was out, Costco was out and Moorhead, Target was out and Dilworth, CVS was almost out.  This is an odd way to start a weekly devotion.  But, this week those in attendance at Grace will meet the Woman Jesus met at the well.  She came to the well for a necessity–water.  Jesus offered her what she did not know she needed, “Living Water”–that is hope, forgiveness and freedom from her soul ever thirsting again.  (See John 4:5-30).  
     I’ve a hunch the TP shortage is fueled by more than a need for toilet paper.  I suspect human beings have a longing to feel safe, prepared, and able to do something to provide for ourselves.  I also believe Jesus was telling the woman at the well she needed something she could not provide or store up for herself.  We all do.  We need a “higher power” to do for us what we can not do for ourselves.  Courage in the face of adversity, calm in the presence of the storm, strength for the journey, at some point in life we all run out of the emotional wherewithal we attempt to muster up for ourselves.  Living water or the peace that passes understanding comes only from God.  During these anxious times I invite us to take a moment a few times a day to whisper a simple prayer:  “Jesus, provide for me what I can not provide for myself–the assurance that you are with us always,” is one options.  Another is, “God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Amen
     A quick word about Covid-19 Corona Virus and Grace UMC.  Some basic behaviors for us to follow are:
            1)  frequent hand-washing with soap. 
            2)  stay home if experiencing cough, fever, chills, weakness or exposed to person with such symptoms,
            3)  refrain from handshakes for now, 
            4)  cover mouth with inner elbow when coughing or sneezing,
            5)  avoid groups over 250,
            6)  use extra caution if over 60 years of age or if you have a health impairment,
            7)  please understand unfolding circumstances we necessitate alternative communion without bread or juice,
            8)  before visiting friends in larger facilities call ahead to see if there are visitor restrictions, 
            9)  be patient with measures that may seem extreme; most of us have loved ones whose age
                    and/or current health challenges place them in the highest mortality segment of people.  
                    Though US death rates are not high at present, each person who does die was loved by someone,
           10)  since Covid-19 tests are not readily available the situation is more complex; 
                   Pray for widespread availability soon.
Blessings and Love in Jesus’ Name, 
Pastor Roger