802 12th St

Marion, IA 52302

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Pastoral Letter #22

Dear Members and Friends,
We will study Ecclesiastes in our Thursday morning Bible study. Whereas Song of Songs, the book that we finished studying last week, talked about romance, flirtation, sexuality, and love, Ecclesiastes is the book that speaks about vanity of vanities or, to use another translation, “Everything is pointless.”
Ecclesiastes speaks a lot about death. But don’t let superficial observations of this book deter your study. I think this is one of the most affirming and liberating books of the Bible. I know of one person who had this passage from Ecclesiastes read at his marriage. 
Go, eat your food joyfully and drink you wine happily because God has already accepted what you do. Let your garments always be white; don’t run short of oil for your head. Enjoy your life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life!—because that’s your part to play in this life and in your hard work under the sun. Whatever you are capable of doing, do with all your might because there’s no work, thought, knowledge, or wisdom in the grave, which is where you are headed. (9:7-10) The Common English Bible, copyright 2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
If you find this passage intriguing, come and find meaning where you may not have found meaning before. If you want to join this study Thursday at 10 am, I’d be glad to forward a Zoom invitation.
With gratitude,
Terry
Notes from Nancy
Meditations for Hunkering Down (6)
Psalm 91:1-2, “You who live in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the Almighty, will say to the Lord, My refuge and my fortress; my God in whom I trust.”  
Some of you might recognize this text from the hymn, On Eagles Wings:
You that dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in his shadow for life, say to the Lord, “My refuge, my rock in whom I trust! (Chorus) 
You need not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day; though thousands fall about you, near you it shall not come, (Chorus) 
For to his angels he’s given a command to guard you in all of your ways; upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (Chorus)
(Chorus) I will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun and hold you in the palm of his hand.
This hymn has been a comfort when negative emotions threaten to undo me.  You know what I am talking about; we are fearful, angry, discouraged, sad, anxious, and lonely because of all the unknowns brought about by COVID 19.  When we don’t know where to turn for help, I suggest sitting quietly with this hymn in your heart. Let God heal your troubled mind and give you strength for this journey into unknown territory.  God has promised to raise us up, bear us on the breath of dawn, make us shine like the sun and hold us in the palm of God’s hand.

Prayer: Eternal and Compassionate God, send your calming spirit to all whose day starts with anxiety as they leave the security of home worrying about the risk of infections; particularly those whose health or age classifies them as vulnerable.  Loving God, be close, keep them safe, along with all whose tasks today includes the care of frail and elderly.  And for all of us, grant wisdom to make sensible choices, not just for ourselves, but for everybody.  Amen.

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