If you have ever walked on the walkway leading to the Trinity Tower Pavilion, you know we have three stones placed in the walkway that say: Faith, Hope and Love. The ‘Faith’ stone has been out for repair over these last few months. Interestingly, I have found in the situation some thought-provoking parable-type lessons for today.
First, one may wonder what caused the ‘Faith’ stone to have problems while the others were fine? Well, it seems the ‘mower guys’, when they took their mower from one side of lawn to the other, went over what seemed like a smooth setting; however the corners of the ‘Faith’ stone were raised up above the bricks. This caused the occasional chip on the corners of the stone. What an interesting parallel to what happens with our faith sometimes. How often do things of life rolling over us cause little chips around the corners of our faith? In some ways the situation of the past few months with the Coronavirus has caused some outside chipping at people’s faith as many wonder, “Lord, when will this be done?” Many outside forces can chip away at our faith.
Then in May, when we decided to have the ‘Faith’ stone fixed since it was lifted and a bit of a tripping hazard. When we picked up the stone, we found the stone had started to disintegrate from below. (Which was why it was raised up.) I wondered, what caused this one stone to disintegrate when the others were just fine? The answer was told to me by one of the Trustees who noted this stone was closest to the parking lot, and obviously the snow piles sit here from the cleared parking lot. The snow piles, combined with the salt melting, caused the stone to disintegrate from below. Again, an interesting parallel to what happens with our faith sometimes. We let things people can’t see in our outward life, fester and erode us from below. Our faith, while it may look okay with just a few chips on top, actually has some deeper concerns.
On September 16th, we put in the newly repaired ‘Faith’ stone. We had to chisel out some parts of old stone, and smooth over a good base for the new stone. It is back in its place to witness to the world about Faith, Hope, and Love. As I stood, I pondered how all of us have times in our faith journey when we need to address issues that impact our faith. We need to clean out old parts that no longer serve in the way they were meant. We need God’s grace and forgiveness to smooth over areas of our life. Eventually, we can get our faith back on solid footing, where it can be an effective witness in our world.
Not sure where you are with your faith journey as these months of dealing with Cororonavirus impact you. My hope is that you will attend to the matters of faith, being watchful for the things that chip away and erode some of the confidence you may have had over your lifetime. God loves and cares about you. Just like having this faith stone put back in its place on the Trinity Tower walkway, May your faith be rejuvenated and strong for our world.
Pastor Dale Reese
CORONAVIRUS AWARENESS March 13, 2020
As I write this column, it is the middle of March, and there is much reaction happening in regard to the coronavirus pandemic. As with most of you, I am trying to grasp the ramifications of the pandemic. Currently there seems to be a lot of reaction and overreaction to the situation. I recognize that this is due the tremendous unknown factor involved with this virus. When something is unknown, a reaction occurs that can be both rational and irrational almost at the same time.
In the situation I watched on Thursday, March 12th, grocery store shelves that normally would be fairly full, were being cleared bare. In a humorous notation pointed out to me, toilet paper could not be found. I listened in awe and wonder. My sense was that this was a classic overreaction similar to when the news media says a snow storm is coming and all of the sudden the grocery stores are inundated. But then I wonder: am I under-reacting?
I have been reading through the news on various sites. (I do not trust television news stations as they are more concerned with ratings and thus always play to worse case scenarios. Consider the weather reports when they say we will get 1 to 6 inches and they focus on the 6 inches. Television networks treat news stories in a similar way.) In my reading, I have turned to various sources and especially science sites to understand.
What I have found is that what makes coronavirus, COVID-19, scary is that the virus spreads in fairly easy ways similar to the flu. But what makes the COVID-19 different than the regular flu seems to be two-fold. A. we have no means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19 at this time, and it is believed it will take researchers awhile to get this. And B. the mortality rate when people obtain the coronavirus versus the flu is three times higher. With flu the rate is around 1.2% while the coronavirus is around 3.5%. Additionally, my son, who is a scientist, informs me the other difference is that the coronavirus impacts the same area of the body as a flu but adds in issues with the lungs. Thus, the danger is for the population of people with pre-existing medical conditions.
With all this knowledge, now we come to trying to develop a good reaction to this pandemic that is impacting our world.
First, be sure to be in prayer for researchers, health professionals, and leaders to develop a right strategy for working with the concerns.
Second, as far as our church plans, let us be cautious. When we gather, (and we will be gathering through this time) be smart and health aware. Health professionals are telling us to do elbow bumps instead of handshakes. If you are a person in the vulnerable category, use discretion in your decision making about participation.
Third, we will keep the church website, www.trinitytowerchurch.org updated with our church news regarding any cancelations that may occur.
Count on God for peace during this time,
Pastor Dale Reese
Reese’s Pieces – February
As Sylvia and I were returning from a family wedding weekend in September, we had to travel on a Sunday morning. As such, we wanted to faithful to our pledge to God to keep the Sabbath holy by attending a worship service. But as most of you know that is not easy when you are traveling. We also had Sylvia’s mother with us who now uses a wheelchair so we had to have a church with easy handicap accessibility. So we drove about an hour and half, and Sylvia, using that wonderful modern technology of the cell phone, found us an appropriate church for our worship.
We arrived at the church and were in the Narthex as the first service was letting out of the sanctuary. That service was their contemporary service. It was great seeing people of all ages leaving worship with smiles and greetings around. We then entered the sanctuary and experienced a wonderful traditional worship experience complete with a 30 member choir and one of the youth playing organ that day. As a time of worship, it was very meaningful.
I bring this experience up because as I worshipped, I recognized how important the offering and experience of both styles of worship has become to me. (It obviously was important to that church family as all those people seemed to enjoy their worship time.) As I pondered this experience, I realized how important offering both styles of worship has become to me for a church family. I also noted that when I am away on vacation, I can be at either style of worship and I am happy with that. It is a special blessing.
As my thoughts have continued on why I find this so refreshing, it is perhaps because I find being in a church that offers both styles of worship, helps people connect with God which is what church worship is to be all about. I know too, that many people have a preferred style of worship. Yet I find it uplifting that many people also can find joy in either experience and some like a variety in their worship time. I also know from speaking to some of you that your preference for worship style on a given day may have more to do with your schedule. Your decision centers on whether you have to get going early so early service that day, or the night before was a late night, so sleep is important to the schedule and thus the second service is the preference of that day.
Thanks be to God that He accepts the variety of ways we worship. And even as I write that, I think about the Labyrinth we will eventually have next spring that will focus on silent worship and prayer. God is good, and I hope you are finding your worship times to be blessed.
Pastor Dale Reese