Dear Members and Friends of St. John,
Karl Kopperud and I were eating breakfast at The Noisy Goose this Friday morning, preparing for Sunday’s Voters’ meeting, when the earthquake hit. Coffee spilled all over our table, and all over my phone. People in the restaurant looked around wondering if they should leave. Finally that shaking stopped and everyone was ok. Karl said, “That’s the biggest earthquake I’ve felt since 1964.” I think I’ve personally counted at least 5 separate aftershocks since then!
I spent my day checking on folks. I checked on our elderly members and home bound people. Phones weren’t working for a while, but I finally got in touch with pretty much everyone and they were fine, if a little shaken. Praise the Lord there seem to have been no serious injuries, at least in the folks I checked on. There will be much cleaning to do. If you want to help, there might be a few seniors who could use help cleaning up the mess. (Please call me if you need help, or can help someone else.)
You should know that the church building is actually in pretty good shape. Peter Probasco was at St. John when the quake hit. He and I checked things out. There were some pieces of paint and plaster on the floor, and some books and other items off shelves. We did notice a cap from a sprinkler lying on a pew in the sanctuary. But, other than that things look fine. The church never lost power.
Koinonia (Seniors’ fellowship group) was cancelled for tonight and postponed to a later date. But, I see from their Facebook page that our Young Adults’ Group plans to decorate the church tomorrow. Worship and Sunday School and our Voters’ meeting will be held Sunday.
There are two earthquake Bible verses that come to mind as we all pick up after our shaker.
First, no one expected the quake, but it came anyway, unexpectedly. In Matthew 24, when talking of end times, Jesus says, 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. . . 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:7-8 a, 44) The unexpected nature of today’s earthquake points to our need to be ready for Jesus’ unexpected coming.
Also, the words of one of my favorite Psalms come to mind. You’ve heard me quote Psalm 46 many times. Today, did you think of the first 3 verses of Psalm 46? “1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3). The earth giving way? (Have you seen pictures of the roads?) Mountains falling and quaking? I think they were shaking today. But, even when the foundations of our life are shaken, we don’t HAVE to be afraid, even though we sometimes are. God’s love and the ever present help that verse 1 mentions is always there. God has eternal life already won for us through Jesus. God has a home in heaven for us where . . . nothing has fallen off the shelves.
Thank you, Lord, that when our world shakes, your present help is sure!
A Child of God, Shaken and Thankful,
P.S. Instead of me sending you pictures, why don’t YOU send ME pictures from your quake experience.
P.P.S. Here are some pictures I’ve started collecting. https://photos.app.goo.gl/xeHGNZn9dncsBc4U6
ABOUT ‘THOUGHTS FROM THE PASTOR’ - I am sending these e-mail messages, hopefully weekly, to all St. John members and friends whose e-mails I have. (I am regularly adding new names of friends and members – in case you are just receiving this e-mail for the first time.) However, if you do not want to receive this e-mail, please let me know, and I’ll gladly leave your name off my list for this message.