March Message From Ruth Johnson Looking for a “New Normal”

February was Women Ministries month and, almost at the last minute, Pastor Gary asked if I would like to write a woman’s article for the February newsletter. Oops! It was really short notice, and, providentially, Pastor Gary was prepared to step in, because I just couldn’t do it!

Looking back on almost two years of the pandemic, which had profound impact on almost everything in my life, and certainly on our church life, it seems to me that our women are leading the way in uncovering whatever our “new normal” will be.

Please understand. I am not belittling what our men have been doing. For example, both in-person and on-line worship would have been very different for these past few months without Pastor Gary’s answering God’s call to step into a new role or without the consistent leadership of the Worship Team guys. Worship is like air: we’ve got to have it.
However, Pastor Gary’s invitation to the women to be featured during all of February instead of for only one Sunday seemed to spark a fire just waiting to be lit. Suddenly, we are becoming brave enough to do some fun things together again. With the mask mandate going away, I believe the pace will increase. I’m praying that soon we will have more children in Sunday school and youth groups, so that we will need more teachers. I’m looking forward to fellowship meals again. I’m excited to hear that the women’s PM Bible study is being revived. Let’s think of ways to reach out to our community.

From the “Martha and Mary” narrative in Luke 10, we women can get the impression that we have to choose between being a “Martha,” busy with all the work of organizing and serving, or a “Mary,” taking in, and growing in, spiritual knowledge. (Being a “Mary” is supposed to be better, but just try to get along without the organizing bit.) I’m pleased to note that what is emerging has a balance. We can make candy for Valentine’s Day treats and we can gather in small supportive groups to read and study God’s Word.

I imagine that you are expecting me to somehow bring this around to our Relational Covenant, that passage in Colossians 3, and you are right; it applies here too. We are reminded by God to:
Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:13-14, NLT)

As we search for our “new normal,” let’s hear and heed the prompting of the Holy Spirit to lead with love and forgiveness. Let us acknowledge and heal old wounds and take care of each other, for Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35). Our world needs to know Jesus. Let’s give them something genuine to catch their attention.

So, I just heard that the men are going to start, beginning in May, a book club, Burgers and Books. Sounds like a good idea. Come on, guys. Show us what you can do.

In Christ, Ruth Johnson

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