March 31, 2020

1 Kings 17:8-16  
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, “Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.” As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, “Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.”  But she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.” Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.” She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. 

Reflection: We’ve been poor—not destitute, but “paycheck to paycheck” poor. (Thank goodness for those paychecks!) We know what it’s like to have to decide which bills to pay in a given month.
     This January, I had the opportunity to be part of a poverty simulation presented by the Dream Center in Peoria. What a sobering experience that was! Each of us was a member of a poor family and had to decide how to pay the bills, keep a roof over our heads, and feed everyone. What a frustrating way to live.
     The widow of Zarephath had decided to give up. She was ready to feed her small household the last bit of food she had, and then to die. How many in our world must be ready to give up? What can we do to help? Salem already gives us a couple options. We can certainly put something in the monthly “hunger envelope” we receive. And we can bring non-perishables for the Bethel Food Pantry. Perhaps we will come up with more ideas as we study with Intern Kristen during Lent.


Prayer: God of abundance, help us to watch for ways to put an end to hunger in our world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Annette Doughty

OUTDOOR WORSHIP CANCELLED
DUE TO PEORIA HEALTH ADVISORY
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