Some thoughts on coping with a new normal

Pastoral Letter – March 19th, 2020 

 In Exodus 12 we read of the enforced isolation of the Hebrew people to protect them from harm. In verse 23 the people are instructed to display the blood of the Passover lamb on the doorway and stay in their homes for, “the Lord will pass over that door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you down.” Luckily for the Hebrew people, the command was only for one day and not weeks. Luckily for us, we do not have to wander in the desert for 40 years. 

Plagues have come to humans, animals, birds, insects and plants again and again. The defining feature of weathering the crisis, from mammals to plants, is a calm spirit of cooperation, sacrificial love, patience and forgiveness. By these methods we have survived plagues and saved animals and plants from extinction, and by these methods we will survive the current pandemic. Keep praying and try the app and/or 

The leadership of CPC is working constantly and hard to allow us opportunities to worship, study the Bible, pray, meet in chat rooms, and share pastoral care needs and support. You may not see it all right now, but stay tuned to your email and the CPC website for developments. Starting next week, I’ll be offering an online streaming bible study using the free Zoom app on Wednesdays at 10 am. You will receive an email invitation to join me and others online to do an interactive and live streaming class. There is a limit of 40 people due to rules in the Zoom app. I am hoping to record the Zoom session to post on the website, but first, let’s see if we can do the live stream. 

For information on everything from the prayer list to updated information about extending CPC closure, please check your email regularly or go to the CPC website and follow the links. The most important information will be on the home page. 

Ann and Mike Toll, Tad and I are working diligently to provide opportunities for worship. Ann and Mike are recording liturgy along with others and putting together the audio files. I’m writing sermons and recording audio files of liturgy and sermons. Tad has recorded, with Ann and Mike’s help, service music and hymns on the CPC organ. We hope to keep improving the worship experience as we learn go along. 

Pastoral care is ongoing with the deacons and me, and hopefully, you have been contacted by phone or email by your deacon. Your deacon is the 1st point of contact for pastoral care and he or she will immediately contact me and Mike to help coordinate whatever needs to be done. If you have not had contact from your deacon, please call or email Mike Miller for the name and contact info of your deacon. Mike Miller can be reached at or 301-651-3510 to report pastoral care concerns or you can call or text me at 301-509-3845 or send an email to me at Be merciful as the pastoral care needs may grow considerably over the next weeks and months. If it is not an emergency, it may take us a day or two to get back to you. Don’t fret we will contact you. If you want to add a name to the prayer list, please contact Nalani Ambrose at or 732-403-1456 

While we sit in our homes and wait for the virus to pass over us, here’s some things to help make things more pleasant: 

Call your family, friends and check on your neighbors. God will smile on your efforts to love others. 

Sit back with a good book in your hand or an audio book in your ear. The Audible app is well worth trying out at I like to read poetry, and I recommend to you these audiobooks for poetry: 

The Poets' Corner: The One-and-Only Poetry Book for the Whole Family 

John Lithgow expertly introduces 50 prominent Western poets. They are presented alphabetically and samples of their poetry are narrated by Hollywood stars such as Morgan Freeman, Helen Mirren, Jodie Foster, etc. 

Good Poems: Selected and Introduced by Garrison Keillor 

“The poems are read by Keillor and a number of the poets included in the collection. Some are wise, some are funny, some are soothing or heartwarming. All were chosen for their wit, frankness, passion, and, in Keillor's words, their utter clarity in the face of everything a person has to deal with at 7 a.m.” 

Mountain Interval 

If you are a fan of the poetry of Robert Frost you might like his book of poems, Mountain Interval, by professional voice actors Robert Gonzalez, Sara Morsey, Jennifer Fournier, Russell Gold, Ben Stevens, and Andy Harrington. 

For book in hand poetry, it’s not a bad idea to pick up a copy of the 1030’s classic, 

The Best Loved Poems of the American People compiled by Hazel Felleman or 

The Road Not Taken and Other Poems, a complilation for Robert Frost poems for $.99 for Kindle reader 

or $7 for a paperback 

Here’s my list of feel good movies, some are obscure but interesting: 

Relax and enjoy some downtime: 

A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe, Albert Finney in an adaption of Peter Mayle’s book. A young man loses his high pressure stock trading job and inherits his uncles vineyard in France. 

A Walk in the Clouds, starring Keanu Reeve, Giancarlo Giannini and Anthony Quinn. It’s set in the vineyards of post-WWII California. The cinematography is gorgeous, and the story is winsome. 

The Boys and Girl from County Clare, a bit of spicy language as the boys were not put in time out enough by their mother as kids. Charming story set in Ireland in the ‘60’s, lots of Celtic traditional music Much Ado About Nothing, 1993 starring and directed by Kenneth Branagh with Richard Briers, Kate 

Beckinsale, Imelda Staunton, and Michael Keaton as the Fool, priceless, fun, lovely film location. 

Field of Dreams starry Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones, helps you deal with MLB cancelitis 


Hot Fuzz, starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, Fall down laughing send up of save-the-world buddy movie 

Pirate Radio, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Bill Nighy. DJ pirates battle to bring rock n roll to the UK in 60s some racy scenes and language 

Quirky but rather profound: 

Everything Is Illuminated, starring Elijah Wood, a Jewish man travels to post-Berlin wall Russia to find his roots and encounters a cast of wacky characters who take him on a profound journey, beautifully filmed 

Animated: The Red Turtle, Academy Award Nominated tale of livening and coping with life’s transience 

And when you have a moment pray. Pray for yourselves and each other. Pray for our community, nation and world and don’t stop praying. 

Merciful Savior, look upon your people with kindness and mercy as we adjust to a new normal and fear for ourselves and our loved ones. Bless those who are sick with healing and comfort and bless those who are caregivers at hospital, clinic and home with strength and courage. Open our minds and hearts to the reality that we are all one and part of one human family and so treat each other with love and respect. Guide us to innovative solutions to healing, doing our daily work, parenting our children and being compassionate and patient spouses, children and friends. 

Loving Lord, we place ourselves, our families, friends and neighbors, our community, country and world in your hands of grace and peace. Give us hope and renewal that during the time of trial we become our best selves as we follow our you and your ways. You are our hope, our healer, our teacher and king. We place our trust in you. Amen. 

May you be blessed and a blessing to others and may the peace of the Lord be with you, 



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