March 18, 2020

Isaiah 58:6-8 
Is not this the fast that I choose: 

    to loose the bonds of injustice, 
    to undo the thongs of the yoke, 
to let the oppressed go free, 
    and to break every yoke? 
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, 
    and bring the homeless poor into your house; 
when you see the naked, to cover them, 
    and not to hide yourself from your own kin? 
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, 
    and your healing shall spring up quickly; 
your vindicator shall go before you, 
    the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; 
    you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am. 
If you remove the yoke from among you, 
    the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, 
if you offer your food to the hungry 
    and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, 
then your light shall rise in the darkness 
    and your gloom be like the noonday. 

Reflection: As a graduate student, our family struggled with food scarcity. Fortunately, at the time, the leftovers saved from my workplace fed our family. That life experience has powerfully stayed with me to emphasize how blessed we were to encounter the kindness of others. In our community we have food deserts, we have children in poverty, homeless for many reasons (mental illness being one of them), and we have people who, unbeknownst to our perception of them, struggle to have their needs met. God surprises us regularly. Even in our routine lives, God sends us people to interact with, so that we can understand our active and responsible place in our community life more deeply. Challenges and darkness are part of our human experience. Often, the darkness is there for us to also experience the contrast; the joy of the light when caring for others.

Prayer: God of Light, give us the humility to discover life from another’s perspective and feed us with the surprising gift of your grace. Let us follow the example of Jesus, to be the light in another person’s darkness. Lead us to become a vehicle of God’s surprising grace.

-Dr. Heljä Antola Crowe

In response to the recent Health Advisory issued by Peoria City/County Health Department describing rising levels of COVID cases and concerns, the planned outdoor worship service has been cancelled. Worship will still take place live at 6pm, but with worship leadership only. It will be recorded and available for viewing by 8am on Sunday, July 26.
This decision is not taken lightly but very seriously as we strive to follow health officials recommendations and cautions. We do this because we love one another and want what’s best for one another. In this time of pandemic, that means refraining from indoor as well as outdoor gatherings of larger sized groups.

The drive by farewell for Kristen will still take place on Sunday beginning at 10:30am as we will remain in our cars. Thank you for your cooperation. 

Pastor Craig
Craig Swenson, Senior Pastor