Dear Faith Family & Friends,

Week 10 — and I don’t know about you, but this waiting is challenging!
Waiting for the Coronavirus threat to end. Waiting for life to return to “normal”. Waiting.

The last 10 weeks have been pretty overwhelming… It’s easy to let fear of the unknown… the beyond your control feeling consume your thoughts. The pandemic has meant hopes and dreams shattered… jobs lost and with this a sense of purpose… and often a pay cheque. Weddings and graduations have been postponed or cancelled outright. Travel plans have been nixed or pushed back to 2021. The school year is over, yet on-line learning will continue.

It’s chaotic. Exhausting. Frightening… Feel free to add your expressions, words or expletive deletives to name the reality we are living!

It’s a waiting game… a waiting period. We’re waiting on God… waiting on answers… waiting on time-frames… waiting for things to re-open… waiting for things to return to the way it was. We are waiting for some normalcy to return, weekly patterns to be resumed, favourite activities to be restored. We’re waiting for the gatherings that bring joy and life… a giggle… a shared meal to return.

There’s a lot of anxiety… unanswered questions… when will this end? When will restrictions ease? When will lock-down/quarantine pass? When will I get to safely hug my children and grand-children… my neighbours… my friends?

It’s in God’s Waiting Room we learn a lot about ourselves and we learn about God. And as our patience is tried, we also learn about trust… listening… slowing down to observe… leaning into the Word… leaning into and on God… believing God IS at work… to redeem the broken… to comfort the sick and grieving… to be a source of hope and promise… and a faithful and abiding presence as we wait… we are not alone.

In Psalm 40, David shares:

I waited and waited and waited for God.
At last he looked; finally she listened.
God lifted me out of the ditch,
pulled me from deep mud.
God stood me up on a solid rock
to make sure I wouldn’t slip.
God taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.

Psalm 40:1-3, The Message

It appears “waiting” is not new… rather it’s an invitation to sit with expectancy… await with assurance of the promises. Trust in the Rock… sing songs of praise in anticipation of blessings to come. And they will!

So wait actively dear ones, not passively. Stay aware. Pray constantly. Worship. Praise. Commune with God. Be in communion with God and others. Imagine ways to serve… then do it! Find a place that restores your soul… is your calm… a favourite chair on a patio… a balcony… a front porch… a place where you are comfortable and feel safe… a place where you can let go and let God. And though you might be sitting, you are actively listening for God… listening to God… listening in hope…

Participate with focus… wait with joy… gratitude… attentiveness! It is easy to be happy when external things are going well, but what happens when uncertainty comes… the jigsaw puzzle smashes to the ground… the bottom falls out of our lives… with no end in sight? Pick up the pieces one by one… trust nothing will be lost… and if it is, remember the beauty in what was, and believe in the bounty of what will be.

And remember the words of God, to Joshua, when all seemed lost after Moses’ death… when the Promised Land was before them, yet the people’s hearts were broken by what was and would never be again…
“Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged God, your God, is with you every step you take.” (Joshua 1:9, The Message)

Friends, in the waiting room, nothing is wasted. The way you have simplified your life is important… for the future. The way you have adapted and found new ways to communicate is not wasted. The way you have stayed connected or re-connected is not wasted. The texts and Facetime moments are not wasted… the walks and time in the garden have not been wasted. The new skills learned and the resilience shown have not been wasted.

I have made more phone calls in the last month than in the last few years put together. I have reached out via social media and chosen to be positive… to affirm loving actions… to celebrate beauty… to lift up! Your check in calls, the offers to get groceries, the care for ones neighbour, the gratitude expressed, the blessing of revisiting grade 8 Home-Ec skills or cooking a meal for someone else… the gift of creativity and collaboration. These days are not wasted. They are precious.

The time you spend with your spouse… your thoughts… your prayers… your God. This time, like all time is precious. This is time that is less scheduled… less cluttered… less restricted. There is less time spent on the road commuting … less time in meetings… less time rushing… more time for God… for God’s work… for God’s garden… for God’s goodness… for God’s gracious presence.

And so we wait. Together, even though we are apart. In hope and in promise.
In God’s loving arms and care!
Sue


Here are links to the latest info regarding COVID-19 from The United Church of Canada?

From the National Church
https://www.united-church.ca/covid-19 or

From our Horseshoe Falls Regional Council
https://hfrcucc.ca/
https://hfrcucc.ca/rcevents/news/


Worship Offerings/Opportunities

Bulletins, full worship liturgies, puzzles are attached. If you know of someone who is shut-in or has no computer access to worship resources, please consider making a connection with them and sharing Sunday’s bulletin, message! Sunday May 31st will be PENTECOST and we will be celebrating communion as part of our worship! Other upcoming worship includes The United Church of Canada’s 95th Anniversary, Aboriginal Sunday, Pride Sunday and a Hymn Sing Sunday! Please let Sue know your favourite hymns (and perhaps why they are your favourites) and she will craft as many as she can into a service of worship and praise in July!

Here is the weekly link to on-line worship experiences from across Canada (393+)!

Feel Good Video

Who Am I? (Linnea Good Song set to dance/motion)!

This week’s prayer as you journey…

God of Hope… of Love… of Action,
So much is already broken.
Help us break the rest.
We’ve already seen the ways
rules that keep us segregated, oppressed and oppressing
have fallen away.
It’s a new game for the sake of a more just world.
Help us keep the faith
and keep your vision alive…
as we wait.
Amen

Have a Blessed week! Be well!
Sue

Sue Cowan
Supply Minister
Carlisle-Kilbride United Churches