May 13, 2020

Dear CrossWay Family,   
                                                                   
“The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1).

For some reason, I have been very aware of the truth of that verse these past several weeks.  Maybe it has something to do with the different pace of these weeks. Maybe it’s just the coming of spring. Whatever the reason, I’ve noticed things more. The skies have been beautiful. The rains have been a blessing to the earth. Things are starting to bud and flower.  At one point, standing in my orchard yesterday, I saw a Cardinal, a Baltimore Oriole, an Orchard Oriole (how appropriate), and a Common Yellowthroat—all at once and all spectacularly beautiful birds! There has been a “fullness” it seems. It makes me think of another verse: “How manifold are thy works, O Lord! In wisdom you have made them all” (Psalm 104:24). Certainly, the world God made is full of beauty and I am so thankful he has given us eyes to see it.

Back at the beginning of January of this year, I sat down and wrote out some goals for the coming year. I try to do this every year. One of my goals for this year was to memorize a small handful of psalms. So the first thing I did was to begin to read through Psalms, slowly and carefully, looking for and noting particular psalms that I thought it might be good for me to commit to memory. I ended up with a list of twenty-four. Clearly that was more than I originally intended. So I went back over my list and chose my top dozen or so. I then sent that list to a friend with whom I’ve memorized Scripture before. We’ll pick one to get started and see how many we might do this year. I’ll be happy if I can hide two or three new psalms in my heart.

But reading through Psalms this way made me see again that there is a “fullness” to the Book of Psalms. And it’s not just the Psalms, of course. There is a fullness to God’s Word as a whole. The Old Testament books of history are full of God in all his majesty and providential care. I love the prayer of Moses: “Show me your ways, that I may know you” (Exodus 33:13). The Old Testament books of history show us God’s ways so that we might know him. The books of the prophets are full of God’s character—his love, and his justice, and his mercy, and his patience, all regularly put on full display. The Bible is full of the beauty and power of Jesus, most clearly in four beautifully rich Gospels where we encounter the fullness of a perfect life, a sacrificial death, and a glorious resurrection. There is a fullness of moral instruction in God’s Word, from clear life-saving commands, to the ethical guidance of Proverbs, to prophetic words of warning, to the apostolic and pastoral words in all the letters of Paul, Peter, John, James, Jude, and whoever wrote Hebrews. And it all ends with the brilliant, and highly charged, and wonderfully hope-giving book of Revelation. What a “fullness” we have in God’s Word! Each day, as I spend some time in God’s Word, I hold my Bible in my hands and my heart knows, “This Word is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Let me encourage you, sometime this week, to sit and quietly read Psalm 19 and meditate for a while on both the fullness of the world and the fullness of the Word. Sit quietly with your Bible and let the truths of this beautiful psalm sink deeply in. Sit quietly and read, and reread. And then pray and thank God for something. Let there be a fullness of gratitude to reflect the fullness of God’s making himself known to us. Enjoy a little time of communion with your God.

Let me close this letter with just a brief word regarding looking forward. I anticipate that there will be much to share with you in this regard in the coming weeks. We are right now watching closely the developments in our state government and are eager to see what steps it will take. We are hopeful that we might soon be able to take our own steps toward regathering as a church even though we know that will involve some new behaviors and some new patience on all our parts. We will keep you as current as we possibly can.  Know that we hold you in our hearts and in our prayers. We still feel so strongly knit to you and count it a joy to be your shepherds.

With great affection and eagerness,

Pastor Mike (for all the pastors and elders)

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