This past week has been a roller coaster ride of emotions for me. I’m sure that’s been true for many of us. Will we ever, as human beings, be capable of living out the reign of God? Those ancient Hebrews went without an earthly king for so long because they were, as God’s chosen people, to live in a way that showed the world (albeit, a very small world at the time!) what it meant to have God reigning over them. The entire Book of Judges depicts a nation attempting to live without an earthly king. The experiment did not go well. Each chapter begins with some version of “Again the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.” As Pete Seeger wrote is his song, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”—“when will they ever learn?”
And so, we find ourselves in early November of 2020 facing great political turmoil here as we also watch the numbers of COVID 19 cases growing. My grandson, Freddie, turns 1 on Monday. Sunday my daughter and son-in-law have arranged a Zoom birthday party for the family. The last time I saw him, though, was when he was two months old. There are so many changes that an infant undergoes in their first year! I can watch him through the camera lens on my phone and he knows me as a face on that small screen that makes loud noises when kissing him! I am thankful that we are all healthy but it’s painful to be separated and unable to visit in the flesh.
As we face stricter regulations on our public gatherings because of the rise in the number of cases of this virus, we face the reality of Zoom worship continuing for quite some time. We want to keep everyone safe and healthy and so we find ways to connect other than in person. I am a hugger and this forced separation is a struggle. Session recognizes this reality and as hard as it is not to gather in person, they have been consistent in their decision to keep the building closed. If you are missing someone, reach out by giving them a call. Send them a card. Let them know that you miss seeing them.
Amid these national and international realties we enter the time of year when the days are shorter and nights are longer. Darkness comes early even on these warm, sunny days. Climate change is real and we in the Northeast are fortunate to see this change only as we experience the advent of warmer days in November. How can we be good stewards of the wondrous gift of our Creator, the earth and its beauty? Often, I think, this coronavirus brings with it the opportunity to remember what it means to be alive. To enjoy the gifts of the earth—the grain, the fruits and the food supply. We can spend less time running around and more time in contemplation of what it means to be human and alive. The stresses are great, I know, especially if you are a parent or a teacher. Our children should be our first priority. We are brought up short, perhaps, as we see the frailty of our educational system.
We live in a time of uncertainty and strangeness. How long will we endure this virus? When will we be able to go to the theatre again? When will we enjoy a meal inside at a restaurant? When will be able to return to our sanctuary and hug each other? We look and see only what appears to be a dark abyss.
There is not a definite date for any of these things to resume their normal practice. We are wandering in the wilderness longing for a return to what we knew. Let us be aware of the manna and the quail that God offers to us in this part of our journey together. It’s okay to grumble but let’s remember that in the long run, God’s time is not our time. God’s ways are not our ways. There will be a time when we gather together in person. There will be a time when we are able to eat inside at a restaurant or go to the theatre. In the meantime, in this season of remembering and giving thanks, let’s give our thanks to God for the many blessings we do have. In the meantime, we have much work to do as we labor toward that day when equality and justice return to our land. “Hope is the thing with feathers/that perches in the soul/And sings the tune without the words/And never stops at all.” (Emily Dickenson)
I give thanks that this leg of my journey has brought me to Providence Presbyterian Church. I give thanks for this community of faith as we lean into one another for support. Praise God!
In peace and grace,
Sunday Worship 11/8 @ 10am via Zoom
Welcome to online worship with PPC.If there's a problem with zoom, check your email for backup plans. Youth grades 6-12 will meet for Sunday school at the start of the children's sermon—a Zoom link will be shared at that time in the chat and via email (contact Matt Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org if you do not get the email and want to be added).
By phone: call (646) 558-8656 and enter meeting ID 864 6572 5219
Worship Bulletin & Hymns Click here to open/download.
Parable of the Bridesmaids Click here to open/download this week's Children's Bulletin.
Receiving of offerings continues to be important to sustain our church community. While it is missing from our order of worship, we hope you will continue to give online or with a check mailed to the church (500 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02906) as you are able. Thank you!
We invite you to stay online after worship for our virtual coffee hour.
Transcripts and audio recordings of recent sermons can be found on our website here. Audio recordings of older sermons are available here.
Our fall festival has gone virtual! Hope to see you tomorrow (Sunday) at 4:30pm—check your email for a Zoom link!
Reminder: We Want to Hear from You
We are still collecting stories and feedback from as many people in our congregation as possible to gain a better understanding of what draws us to this church community. What about your life in this church has been meaningful to you? If there are areas of concern for you, include those also. We are trying to envision a future for this congregation that is satisfying and helps us grow spiritually. Your contribution will help Session as they consider our next steps. Send your feedback to Pastor Deb at email@example.com.
Also, please help us update our church directory by emailing your contact info (name, street address, email, phone/text numbers) to Monica VanderBaan at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Pastor Deb at email@example.com. It just takes a minute and it is so helpful for keeping us connected!
Continuing Opportunities & Needs
Please contact the leaders listed below if you are interested in getting involved in any of these ongoing opportunities for fellowship and service:
Join the PPC book group in supporting a college scholarship fund for high school grads in RI by sending a financial contribution to: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc PAC, PO Box 40175 , Providence, RI 02940. In the memo line of your check, put "Scholarship/PPC/bookgrp/Nichols."
Volunteer to be a Worship Leader: call Jill Moles 401-241-9812 or click the button to sign up here:
If you or someone you know needs help, contact your assigned deacon if possible, or otherwise contact deacon Matt Harrison at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401-340-9444 and he will coordinate care.
If you have a prayer request or would like to be included in the prayer chain, call/text Suzanne Affigne at (401) 523-4907 or email her at email@example.com.
Milton has put together some helpful tips for using Zoom – read them here and here.
Our presbytery's website (psne.org) and our denomination’s website (pcusa.org) are great resources for information about our faith, connecting with the larger faith community, and opportunities for action.