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It's Christmas: we made it!

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Despite 2020 being a difficult year, we did it, we made it to Christmas!

It wasn't easy getting here. We all have our own stories of how this public health emergency has affected our lives in one way or another.  In many ways, it has forced us to all pause for a moment and really take a look in our lives and what's really important to us.

But, thankfully, we were able to gather for Christmas worship together, but just a little bit differently this year. 

While we were leading worship inside the Sanctuary with cameras rolling for the online feed, we had folks gather in the courtyard to join us in word, song, prayer and lighting candles. 

And whether you watched live at home or in the church campus courtyard, or at another time, we shared in the good news of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world, the babe of Bethlehem. 

As a faith community, this time apart has made us miss the things we took for granted, chief among them, being able to gather in worship together. As we continue to "Worship in Exile" during this dark winter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we take comfort in the hope that the light of the Christ child is not contained within the four walls of a building.

The peace of Christ is not limited to those who gather around the word and sacrament inside some building. God's love abounds in, around and through us, no matter where we are, how isolated we may be from others.

Despite all of the challenges we have faced as an aging congregation, we have learned a few things this year:

  • we have learned how to have worship online and make it available to all
  • we have learned how to have outdoor and smaller study gatherings when public health rules and weather permit
  • we have learned again that church is not a building, it's the people
  • we have found ways to keep serving the needs of those in our community
  • we have learned we need to begin a new outreach to youth, young adults and families 
  • we need more willing and able volunteers to help with our ministries, not only to serve on committees, but to do the work God is calling us to do
  • we need to prayerfully consider our giving and our legacy, and how we can help build for the future of our congregation and our community

We know our challenges as a congregation, community, and the world are not over. Much needs to be done on the public health standpoint, but also, our communities are in need of the grace of God now more than ever. They need a message of hope, joy, love and peace. They need the good news of Jesus Christ, and we have been blessed and tasked to share light of Christ with all those around us. 

May you find ways, using the talents God has given you, to share the good news of Jesus.

Merry Christmas.


Christmas sermons to share online:

Dec 24 Christmas Eve - Pastor Jon

Dec 25 Christmas Day - Eddie McCoven

Dec 27 First Sunday of Christmas - Bishop Taylor

Put your own mask on first

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“Pray to God, but row towards shore!”

This was the saying beneath the drawing of a row boat out in the middle of a large body of water on a wall at Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlor. I have often thought about this little bit of advice. Am I just sitting waiting for God to rescue me or am I rowing in the right direction?

Of course it is always good spiritual practice to pray to God. But do we know when God answers? I seldom get the “Wow! That was an answer to my prayer!” type of moment.

It usually is more of coming to see what has been in front of me all along. Maybe something I’ve overlooked or ignored until “there it is”

Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. But first we need to love our self. Do we? COVID-19 is sneaky. Traits that are part of who we are as human beings -- being social, congregating, hugging, sharing food -- all have become things to avoid.

Do we love ourselves enough to stay home, wear a mask and social distance? Oddly enough, in times of COVID-19, these are the exact same things we need to do to love our neighbor.

  

Just a few facts

November 1st there were 300+ novel coronavirus cases a day in San Diego.

November 12th there were 600+ and if projections hold by November 23 there will be 1200 per day. Every 11 days the number of cases per day doubles.

By New Year’s Day, if nothing changes, there will be 10,000 cases a day in San Diego and our health care system will be struggling under the strain. I am not telling you anything that is not public knowledge.

Like each of you, I long to be with you. To me it feels like I just came home after being away for several years. I want to catch up, hear your stories, pray with you, embrace you, break bread with you.

And I want you and me to be here next year. The last thing I want is for this community to become a hot spot because we have a lot of members who are over 65 years old and are in high risk categories. We need to take care of ourselves and each other.

When we pray for this community, Clairemont Lutheran Church / Iglesia Luterana Clairemont, to be protected from this pandemic, I believe God hears our prayers. Did you hear God’s response?

     Stay home when possible.

     Keep our distance from one another.

     Wear your mask.

     Stay in your bubble.

     Take care of each other.

God knows that we long to be together, to break bread together and to help others in need. We can help each other through this
time of isolation. And come Pentecost, we
will celebrate that Clairemont Lutheran
Church /Igelsia Luterana Clairemont
survived COVID-19.

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