“When the Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, by imposing hard labor on us, we cried to the Lord, the God of our ancestors; the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression. The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with a terrifying display of power, and with signs and wonders; and [the Lord] brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” Deuteronomy 26:6-9
The Old Testament of the Bible includes a book of law called Deuteronomy, which gives the history of our Christian faith and how we should live. It includes the history of Jesus’ ancestors, the Jewish people, and how they suffered terribly. The people of Israel were deported, taken into slavery, ultimately exiled, and roamed, lost in the desert.
Dealing with the fires in this time of pandemic is making our lives, and the lives of many others, extremely challenging. Some of us feel lost, too!
This of course is why we need each other now more than ever. It’s why these days we worship God virtually through our weekly Online Gatherings, and witness to God’s saving grace in whatever creative ways we can come up with. It’s why Jesus makes all the difference, especially now. Our lives include hard times, and we need help—holy help that is! These Bible stories of faith give us courage to face these disasters. In God’s love, we can begin to leave our pain and messed-up selves behind.
No wonder this Scripture from Deuteronomy speaks to us. We could use a land flowing with milk and honey about now! Not in excess, but at least enough to get by and share with our neighbors. Which brings us to our survey.
Reopen Church Survey Results In! What Happens Next?
Thank you to the 50+ people who responded to our Reopen Church Survey about returning to in-person worship and programs. Our leaders will be meeting to review the data, offer their feedback, and lay the groundwork for our next steps. Here are a few highlights of our survey results:
This week, Governor Newsom announced that California has a new “Four Tier” blueprint for reducing COVID-19 with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on activities, as directed by the California Department of Public Health. Our Bishop Minerva Carcaño has also confirmed that our Cal-Nevada Conference protocols for reopening are still in place, and all local church plans must be approved before implementation.
We will adhere to these guidelines.
In the meantime? This is God’s holy ground, and God’s holy church. And whether you realize it or not, we are God’s holy people. All of us. A broken, lost people, in need of redemption, and God’s help.
We have much to be thankful for, even in this time of fires, evacuations, the pandemic, and other disasters. We have each other. And what about the riches of our lives? What are we to do with our bounty? Share it with others, that’s what! Starting with the first fruits. They go to God.
This is the promise and affirmation of salvation. This is what we mean by a land flowing with milk and honey. You my friend are standing on holy ground. Thank God!
In light of the fires raging in California, we’re inviting you to join us for Evacuation! God is My Rock and My Salvation, Sunday, August 23, 2020, premiering at 10:00 am, and available thereafter at our Facebook and YouTube pages, as I tell the story of how I have been evacuated from my home. As the Scripture says: “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from God comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:1-2) The question is whether we really believe it.
Do you want to help? Here are suggestions from the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County:
If you’re in the Santa Cruz County area, you can:
1. GIVE SUPPLIES
Due to COVID-19 considerations, the County requests that all donations be in new condition. Please bring all donations to the Santa Cruz County General Services Warehouse at 1082 Emeline, Santa Cruz.
SHELTER ITEMS: Large, family-sized tents, Sleeping bags, sleeping pads, Blankets, Pillows, & Tarps
WATER AND SNACK ITEMS: Bottled water, Granola/energy bars, *Other food donations may be brought to Second Harvest Food Bank
PERSONAL ITEMS: Hand sanitizer, Personal hygiene products, Toiletries, Large plastic storage bins, Coloring books, crayons, *Clothing and other personal item donations please bring to the nearest Goodwill
HYGIENE SUPPLIES: Surgical masks, Empty spray bottles (for county-supplied bulk disinfectant)
2. DONATE TO THE FIRE RESPONSE FUND
Any donation size will help. Make an online donation to the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County here. 100% of donors’ gifts will be used for grant making. All donations are tax-deductible.
And if you’re in the area:
Volunteer at a Fire Shelter in Watsonville, Santa Cruz or Soquel. Learn about opportunities through the Volunteer Center. Help pack and distribute food with Second Harvest.
I want to add something else. We definitely need your prayers to cope with this disaster. Please keep ’em coming!
My message includes an exclusive interview with David Honda, Chief of the Watsonville Police Department.
We talk about the tragic death of George Floyd, police violence, peaceful protests vs. looting, defunding the police, taking a knee and more.
I hope you’ll join us.
Yours in Christ,