From My Perspective

Reflections through a Lens of Faith from Pastor Jen

Crisis in India and Lutheran Response

Crisis in India and Lutheran Response

I’m part of a Facebook group with just over 47,000 physicians from around the world. Most live in the United States, but many have family ties across the globe. Oftentimes when there is a health crisis such as with COVID-19, I hear about it first in this group.

Many of us know that India is struggling with a devastating wave of COVID-19. Oxygen is in short supply. Hospitals are overrun. News stories have told us that much. But social groups tell me the personal stories of individuals who are suffering.

Here are some posts I’ve read this week:

Does anyone else know of any places in India (Delhi specifically) that still have oxygen tanks/cylinders? I have multiple family members that need it and there are no hospital beds available anywhere.

Has anyone purchased oxygen concentrator in the US and shipped it for family members in India? If so can you recommend a good website for purchase and shipping?

Need a ventilator hospital bed in Kashi/Varanasi urgently. Please DM me if you have a lead.

My father, sister in law and nephew is tested positive in Latur. Maharastra, India today. They need Remdesvir. Can you help? Please DM me

Looking for an ICU bed for friends BIL in India/Ghaziabad, young and in his mid 40’s. Increasingly hypoxic. Thank you

Yes it’s terrible, unparalleled disaster. Can’t figure out how to get much needed resources there.

The COVID situation in India is dire. There’s a lot of chaos with few/no hospital beds in many places, hospitals running out of oxygen, bodies piling up, people in great emotional distress. We are reaching out to see if anyone might have access to oxygen that could be shipped to the hospital in New Delhi. Even industrial oxygen used in metal working (not medical grade) would be welcome.

Urgent need for icu bed in Bangalore for friends mom with covid hx of copd already on o2 and bipap at home precovid – now unresponsive with hypoxia and tachycardia to 130s!! Please PM me if you have leads….ETA – she received an ICU bed but as is expected when one waits more than 24 hours hypoxic she has multiple organ failure. Please pray for her! Thanks to all that bumped and commented this post!

Update – she passed away, please keep India in your thoughts and prayers.

If you’re wondering how to financially support those who are struggling in India, consider Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR). LDR works with partners and companion churches already on the ground in India. For a situation report and information on how to donate, check out this link: https://tinyurl.com/2vueu5um

Prayer support is also desperately needed.

Crisis in India and Lutheran Response

As another person posted in our Facebook group:

This is the time to support your fellow human being. Humanity needs you.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen

Earth and All Stars

Earth and All Stars

Earth and all stars! Loud rushing planets! Sing to the Lord a new song! Hail, wind, and rain! Loud blowing snowstorm! Sing the Lord a new song! God has done marvelous things. I too sing praises with a new song! (Evangelical Lutheran Worship, #731)

This hymn has been a favorite of mine for a number of reasons.

One is that it has more exclamation points than any other hymn I can think of! (And I do like my exclamation points!!!!!!)

But another reason is that it calls attention and gives praise to parts of God’s creation that I don’t always think as marvelous…hail? wind? blowing snowstorms?

Earth Day is upon us this week, and as people of faith, we are reminded once again how we are called to be stewards of the earth and its resources. Our baptismal responsibilites affirmed at Confirmation spell out our responsibility to “care for others and the world God made.”

The ELCA offers this list of suggestions of how we might recognize Earth Day this year:

• Explore and use ELCA Care for Creation resources, including video, study and action guides with information about the Creation Care Ambassadors initiative.  https://www.elca.org/Faith/Faith-and-Society/Social-Statements/Caring-for-Creation

• Read the Lutherans Restoring Creation story “5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day as Church Together but Apart.”

• Accept the ELCA Young Adults No Plastics for Lent challenge this Easter season.  

• Participate in a local cleanup (with appropriate distancing) if permitted by local authorities, or participate in the Earth Challenge 2020 citizen scientist initiative, focused on plastic pollution and clean air.  

• Join with the ELCA’s ecumenical partner Creation Justice Ministries in advocacy, education and prayer. 

One more (very local) suggestion is to participate this Saturday in Faith’s Outdoor Garden Cleanup from 9am-Noon. Hope to see you there!

In Christ!

Pastor Jen

We Are All Newcomers

We Are All Newcomers

After church yesterday, we had a gathering on Zoom of some of the newcomers to Faith to help make some connections. It’s always been a challenge to help folks make connections with each other – it’s especially hard during a pandemic!

But we are beginning to see the light of a new day! Many of us are beginning to venture more and more outside and in communion with others thanks to the advances with vaccines and other safety measures.

One colleague has said that we will begin to gather in person again (Faith will add weekly outdoor in-person worship services on May 2), but “When we return, we will all be newcomers!”

This is both exciting and a challenge. This is both a time of opportunity and a time of grief. We are looking forward to gathering in person – but at the same time, some parts of our gathering will be different. We will still need to be socially distant and wear masks. We won’t be sitting in our customary pews. When coffee hour returns, it will certainly look different.

What an opportunity to gain appreciation for church life as a newcomer! If it’s been a long time since we were newcomers ourselves, it’s sometimes hard to see church life through a newcomer’s eyes, but when we return, we will all be newcomers. We will be thrown off a bit; we will see our traditions in a new way; we might not recognize some faces behind masks; we will probably be asked to sign in and we’ll wonder why; we might not know whether or not we should shake hands or fist bump or elbow knock or none of the above.

But…at some point we will settle ourselves into prayer, the worship service will begin, and we will hear the words, “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”

Grace. Love. Communion. For us all.

Thanks be to God.

In Christ,

Pastor Jen