Monthly Archives: March 2020

March 27 – The Longest Flight

July, 2007.

I had made the trip fifteen or more times already. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Belo Horizonte, Brazil.  With good connections you could make it in around 24  hours: leave the church and arrive at the airport two or three hours early; an hour and a half from Pittsburgh to JFK; two-hour lay-over at JFK; ten hours to Sao Paulo; another two or three hour layover; and then  the hour plus flight into Belo Horizonte; immigration, customs, and Belo Horizonte traffic – finally to IPJA.

The unexpected happened early.  Oh, we boarded the flight from Pittsburgh to New York just fine, but then we sat on the tarmac in Pittsburgh for well over an hour as we waited for thunderstorms to pass over JFK.  By the time we made it to the American Airlines international check-in counter at JFK, the flight had boarded and our seats had been given to standby passengers.

Add 24 hours.

At least they gave us hotel vouchers. Continue reading

March 20 – Our Life-Sustaining Business

For reasons of his own, the governor has deemed the church a life-sustaining business. I have no idea what he had in mind, but I think he got this one right. So, we are allowed to keep the building open, which we will on a very limited basis.  Office hours will be random, but we’ll be around to accept food donations for the Deacons’ Pantry and baby supplies for ChoiceOne. Oh, and offering envelopes filled with your tithes and gifts.

In fact, of course, while the building will be mostly closed and the calendar has been cleared, the life-sustaining business of the church continues.  But not very much at the building.

It has been a week like no other. Still sermons to write and lessons to plan (see you online!). Still people to contact by phone and text and email.  But more than that, it has been such a good week to see the life-sustaining work of LPC as we reach out to one another and share the hope and the faith and the love that is ours in Christ.  Frankly, at this point we have more people willing to offer practical help – running an errand, providing a ride, that kind of thing – than we have people asking for help. That may change. Continue reading

March 13 – Here We Stand…But We May Do Other


“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13

My thanks to the LPC elder who reminded me of these words yesterday.  The counsel she had offered as a medical professional was wise and good.  The words she shared as a sister in Christ were better.

Christians are people filled with hope and joy.  We need not let our current anxiety-provoking situation drain from our lives the gift God has given.

“Pandemics Kill Compassion, Too,” reads the headline of a column in yesterday’s New York Times.  Pray that our compassion – and our hope and our joy – are not victims of the virus. Continue reading

March 6 – Notes from a Pious Hand Washer

First, apologies to those who find nothing funny about the coronavirus. Neither do I, but, let’s face it, we are a funny species and humor is a gift that we need not neglect even in times such as these.

The Centers for Disease Control is doing its best to help us cope with virus. In addition to crawling into our caves, the CDC has told us to learn to cough and sneeze into our elbows and wash our hands for as long and as often as we can. Apparently, we are taking the hand washing advice seriously since we are buying soap by the case full and hand sanitizer by the gallon. I know a dark alley where you can score a bar of Ivory or a jar of Germ-X.

Assuming you have access to soap, you are supposed to wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds every time you think you may have touched the wrong surface, shook the wrong hand, or whatever.

My guess is that someone at the CDC must have signed up for a prayer vigil at their church. They know how long 20 seconds can be. Continue reading