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  • Rev. Michelle Vernone

We Are Free!

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

One of my favorite memories, as a little girl, is of my daddy playing guitar and singing to me. When he’d tuck me in at night he would sing over me, teach me to sing with him. There are songs that still make me cry because I remember the tears in my daddy’s eyes as he would sing them. There are songs that still make me laugh because he would laugh and tease me with them. My dad, and ONLY my dad, would call me Tootsie from the song “Toot- Toot -Tootsie Don’t Cry.” So, to have a scripture that declares that Lord God sings over me, brings me great comfort and tremendous peace.

As I type this article, we are only 1 week in on an executive order for restricted gathering, self-quarantining for COVID-19 – a global pandemic, the likes of which we have not seen in a hundred years. We have no idea how long these measures will be in effect. We have no idea if at the time this order expires a new, more severe restriction will take its place. When we look at the global model, we see that restrictions get more severe before they get better. When you look April’s calendar, included in the newsletter, you’ll see some days have “tba” beside them. We just don’t know. Choir is unable to meet for rehearsal, so while we will have an Easter service, it won’t be the cantata just yet. The church leadership is hoping, praying, and planning for the best possible outcomes, but also preparing for other scenarios as well. And while the only truthful answer is, “We don’t know, we’ll have to wait and see..." God will show us the way.

If you watched our first livestream on March 22, you heard me say something hopeful and for some, something scandalous – and I meant every word. I believe God is using this current circumstance to set God’s CHURCH FREE!! We are no longer shackled to the “way we’ve always done it” because we simply can’t do it that way now. We are free from the confines of a building because we can’t gather. WE ARE FREE – to nurture relationships, make new connections, take care of the at risk, the widow, the orphan, the under-served, EACH OTHER!

The Church is being reborn and revitalized! We are being set free from “doing church” to finding new, purposeful and POWERFUL ways to BE the church! Last week, we had to make the difficult decision to temporarily close our food pantry because we simply couldn’t get groceries. Today (March 23rd) we are receiving a FREE DONATION of 600lbs of beans and 500lbs of rice to distribute. All because God is making a way where we thought there was none!

I urge you. Be smart. Be safe. Follow the orders of our government officials and the CDC. PRAY!! Pray for our church. Pray our community. Pray for those who don’t get to stay home because they are working the thankless and HIGH RISK JOBS that allow us to stay home and stay healthy. Worship with us online. CONTINUE TO GIVE YOUR TITHES AND OFFERINGS! My prayer is that in this time we will see an unexplained, unprecedented INCREASE in giving so that when we can gather together for worship again, we will be ready to do more than we ever dreamed or imagined our church would be able to do for the Kingdom.

Log onto Facebook and follow our page (Edinburg First United Methodist Church). Check our webpage frequently (www.edinburgfumc). Friend me on Facebook for live words of encouragement and devotionals. Thank our music teams and Lauryn Brough for getting us tech savvy. And most importantly THANK GOD for the new out pouring of God’s Holy Spirit that will lead us through this crazy, uncertain, uncharted time.

Much Love and Many Blessings,

Pastor Michelle



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