Pastors Message

Reaching Out from

Grand Lake Community Chapel

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Greetings in Christ!

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!  Let us rejoice in moderate temperatures and clearer roads, and let us be glad that the forecast doesn’t call for anything particularly scary for the next few days!  That said, let’s not kid ourselves, shall we?  It’s Northern Michigan, it’s February, and there’s no way that we’re anywhere near done with winter!  So why not embrace the season, and enjoy the warmth of our homes, a mug of hot chocolate, and a good book or movie!

And as we embrace the season, let’s also embrace love; Monday is Valentine’s Day, originally a feast day for a martyr of the early church by the name of Valentine, which has now become an almost entirely commercial holiday best known for candy hearts, Hallmark cards, and romantic gifts.  But at its core, St. Valentine’s Day is all about love; as is our faith tradition.  It is often said that God is love, at Christmas we talk about love coming down from Heaven in the form of a baby boy, and in many of our liturgies and prayers we speak of love.  While it is great fun to exchange Valentine’s cards with your honey-bunny, and most folks are happy to dig into a heart-shaped box of chocolates with reckless abandon; underlying these acts is love.  If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember a song by Burt Bacharach titled “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” that opened with “what the world needs now is love, sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of,” and went on to state that love is not just for some, but for everyone.  Isn’t that the message of the Gospels?  Isn’t that what we teach and preach and live every day?  If that’s so, why is there so much conflict and strife in the world today?  We suggest that it’s because we aren’t lavishly generous with sharing the love of Christ with all people; we tend to be a bit selective with whom we are loving and kind and gentle, and that’s not what we’re called to do.  Maybe this coming St. Valentine’s Day can nudge us towards being the loving, love-sharing people that God calls us to be, and that Jesus Christ modeled for us.  Then maybe, just maybe, come next St. Valentine’s Day, the world will be a happier place.

With our love in Christ,

Karen and Greg

Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love.
John 15:9

See the source image

      From the Desk of

TOBY THE CHURCH DOG
      February 2022

Hello, my dear friends!

Did you know that I consider myself a watchman?  I watch for birdies, for bunnies, and for people to step on my sidewalk or into my yard.  When out for a ride with my Daddy, I watch for potential traffic issues, fellow doggies out for a walk, and especially for BIG trucks. I LOVE big trucks! When I go to the office, I am on the lookout for my friends; and I remain on alert to protect my friends too. 

You may have noticed that I sometimes stretch out with my eyes closed.  At times there may even be some deep breathing that is heard, but do not be fooled into thinking that I’m sleeping. OH NO; for I remain alert even without the benefit of my sight! I am watchful at all times– with my nose, with my ears, AND with my intuition! 

 You, my friends, are in my care; and I do not ever want to let you down!  If I sense danger, I will sound my alert.  If I see harm coming your way, I will push you out of its path. A watchman is no good if he is silent.  A watchman is no help if he is sleeping. Why watch if there is no intention to make a difference for others? And when I know you are safe, I will remind you that you are loved by kissing your nose or by simply resting by your side.

In Ezekiel 33 one reads of the expectations of a watchman.  His first duty is to be on the lookout and to sound the alarm when danger is present.  Sometimes people may not be paying attention to this warning, but the watchman must still sound the alert where peril is perceived. Secondly, the watchman must bear the burden of his lack of engagement if he is negligent and fails to warn others of the dangers he finds. He must not fail the humans who are depending on him.  If others do not listen to his warnings, then it is their own fault; but the watchman is called to share his alert. Some who read this passage in Ezekiel believe that the watchman is our Savior who always loves and cares for us.  Others believe that these words point out the duty of God’s Children to protect others from situations that will bring with them distancing from our Lord and the path upon which we are called to travel. I want to be of help to you, my friends, and so I watch… 

With love from your Church Dog,

TOBY

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel;
so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  Ezekiel 33:7

Wishing you joy and peace in your day!  Remember, God’s got this.

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