On The Journey, Judy Bowman

“Don’t quarantine kindness”

One of my favorite Pope Francis quotes is this one: “You pray for the hungry. Then you feed them. That’s how prayer works.” I suppose I’ve always known this was true, but each time I pray, it makes me more aware of how I’m praying, of what I’m praying for and of what I need to do so that my prayers are more fruitful. It makes me aware of what I need to do every day in order to be the love and mercy of Christ to my neighbor. Even in these days of distancing, we can explore ways to put our prayers into action.

Let’s start with what Pope Francis said about praying for the hungry. Pray and work in your church’s food pantry. Start one if you don’t have one. Organize a drive for the local food bank. Start a neighborhood vegetable garden. Collect restaurant donations for the soup kitchen. Host a community yard sale to benefit a feed-the-children program.

Pray for the homeless and educate yourself about all the reasons someone might end up without a roof over their head. Many suffer from mental illness and/or addictions. Many more are families who have fallen on hard times. Don’t assume they just don’t want to work for their housing. Use the skills you have to help them find jobs. Cut their hair. Help them with their resume. Donate to the agencies in your area that can make the biggest impact. Do your homework.

Pray for the lonely. Take a meal to your aged neighbor. Volunteer to drive a parishioner to Mass. Or drive them to a doctor’s appointment, or the hair salon, or the grocery store. Deliver meals-on-wheels to the shut-ins or elderly in your area. Organize a parish ministry that provides in-home help with small housekeeping tasks like taking out the trash, changing light bulbs, or doing light yard work or repairs. Even something as simple as a phone call can make all the difference to someone who rarely hears another person’s voice. Don’t forget those folks in nursing homes, either. Many of the residents don’t have family or friends to visit them. Send cards if you can’t visit right now.

Pray for your sick friend. Take them their favorite meal, or music, or movie. Read to them, especially something you both enjoy. Or buy them a gift subscription to an audio book service. Be their library connection. Do a load of laundry for them. Walk their dog. Rake their leaves. Call them when you’re at the grocery store or Target and ask if you can bring them anything. Be their hands and feet until they’re feeling better.

Pray for your friend who is grieving. Contact them as soon as you learn of their loss. Be honest and direct in acknowledging their grief. Let them mourn they way that they need to mourn and for as long as they need to. Be available but don’t be hurt if they need their alone time. Keep asking and keep inviting. Share your memories of their late loved one, if you know them. Cry together. Give them flowers a month (or two or three) after their loss. They’ll appreciate them more then.

Pray for peace in our world. Be a peacemaker in your family, at your job, in your parish, and in your community. Help each other. Forgive old grievances and hurts. Your children will learn kindness by how you treat your spouse and other people. Show them how to be open and accepting towards folks who might look different or speak differently or have different abilities. Involve yourself in civic organizations that work for justice, especially for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Consecrate your heart and your family to serving the Lord of peace. Love. Forgive. And be patient with everyone you meet.

When we pray, we’re grateful for all the Lord has generously given to us. We ask Him for His forgiveness of our sins and for His help in avoiding sin in the future. We ask for what we need, for what our family needs, and for what our world needs. And we ask for the faith and the strength we need to live out the Gospel in our lives. As we journey through life we encounter so many opportunities to help those around us. May our prayers be more than words as we open our hearts to the Lord’s call of service. As Pope Francis said, “That’s how prayer works.” Amen.

“We prove our love for Jesus by what we do, by who we are.” — St. Teresa of Calcutta.

Glenda Smiley, Pleasant Valley Baptist Church

Sunday, May 10, Pleasant Valley Baptist met together to worship the Lord and recognize and honor our mothers. Pastor Flood brought a wonderful message. Pleasant Valley Baptist is having service open for all, members and guests alike, to come every Sunday at 11 a.m. to hear the word of God. For the present, all additional services and events are suspended due to virus mitigation.

The actual service and worship is with many safety precautions in place to protect against the COVID-19 virus. Following are recommended guidelines for church services which are in effect at all services held at PVBC:

1. There will be no Sunday School.

2. All songs will be sung from the auditorium. We will have special singing that will be arranged before the service so everyone is ready and sanitation of mics and pulpit can be obtained.

3. Every other pew will be blocked off so that we can maintain 6 feet between people. This would mean you may not be able to sit in your normal pew.

4. There will be a station for personal protective equipment at the front door and back door. Upon arriving, you must use hand sanitizer that will be available and obtain a face mask to be worn until you have returned to your car. The face mask is to protect others from being exposed. You may not be concerned about yourself, but please be concerned about others.

5. Upon arriving, go directly to your seat and sit spacing yourself at a minimum of 6 feet from anyone you do not cohabitate with.

6, At the end of the service, you will be dismissed by pews. As your pew is dismissed, please exit the church and go directly to your car.

7. We will not be passing an offering plate during the service. The plate will be placed on the “In Remembrance of Me” table. We encourage online giving during this time so the handling of money and checks is lessened. If this is not possible, please feel free to utilize these plates. There will be time given to give your offering.

8. There will be no bulletins during this time. This is in effort to keep multiple people coming in contact during this time.

9. The nursery will remain closed.

10. Do not attend if you are not feeling well, have a fever, or have had direct contact with someone who likely has or confirmed to have COVID-19. Medically fragile and elderly should continue to shelter in place and utilize remote services instead of in-person service.

With common sense practices and God’s goodness and grace, PVBC is excited to worship together again. We encourage worshipping together, but understand some at high risk may still have reservations concerning attending in person. We will continue to post our services.

Much to pray for and about. Remember our country, our leaders, our citizens. Remember those among us who are sick, alone, or grieving. Special request are Dianne Hullender (surgery), Debbie O’Neill, Betty Pitts, Pastor Flood’s mother, the Armstrongs, John Bryson’s brother in law, Dot McAllister, all those over 65 with underlying health conditions, and for our pastor and his family. Pray for our churches, missionaries, and evangelists. Pray God will work to revive us all for His glory!

Pleasant Valley Baptist continues to live-stream FB morning services 11 AM, evening 6 PM, and Wednesday Bible study. Be sure to attend, if possible, but view our services on Facebook live stream for encouragement from God’s Word. Until we are all come together in God’s house, be sure to worship with us via technology. We look forward to seeing you in God’s house Sunday at 11 AM.

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