There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. – Job1:1
I recently finished reading the Book of Job in my private devotions. I was moved by how relevant this ancient book is for our current situation. Job was a righteous man who God Himself commended (Job 1:8). Yet, as those hardest hit by current conditions can relate, Job suffered devastating economic and business losses, most of his immediate family died, and Job himself suffered greatly with his affliction. So grave was Job’s condition that his dear wife lost all hope. Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9-10).
Then Job’s three friends came to visit. They served as an ancient version of “social media”. So much of what they said seems like “common sense”. A few points may even appear insightful. Yet, I think of the Book of Job as containing whole chapters of Scripture one dare not quote. These friends come with the credibility of Balaam (Numbers 22-24; 31:16, 2 Peter 2:15, Jude 1:11, Revelation 2:14). In the end (but not until the end) we see that God has nothing good to say about them (Job 42:7-8). God dismisses their many words as “folly” and requires a huge sacrificial offering along with Job’s intercession on their behalf. Those of us who find it hard to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44) would do well to consider how difficult it would be to forgive and pray for this group of guys who effectively taunted you in your time of despair, only adding to your misery when what you needed most was comfort, assurance and level-headed counsel. Yet Job doesn’t hesitate to extend grace as he, once again, faithfully honored God as he prayed for these misguided mentors.
This leads me to ponder the confusing, contradictory counsel that flashes across my news feed in this pandemic. So many rabbits to chase… I do my best to "fact check" as necessary to be credibly informed. However, I take a lesson from Job, realizing there is no end to the many theories, even conspiracies, and alternative views of this or any given situation. I spend more time in God’s Word and how to faithfully live for Him in this disruption. Job certainly appeared to be an “odd ball” to his contemporaries, but truly, he is a wise and faithful example for us all.
In Christ's grace,
Dave Meckley, Pastor
Food Bank Remains Open
The Northern Bedford Food Pantry at Woodbury remains in operation during the virus restrictions. Recipients who qualify are able to drive through and be handed their monthly food packages by volunteers.
The pantry is asking for canned pasta and cereals for the month of May. Since no one has been in church during the month of April and the last two weeks of March, nothing has been left in the collection box at the back of the sanctuary.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to the food pantry please make out your check to NB Food Pantry and mail it to the treasurer, Janis Slick at 131 Hipples Cave Rd., Woodbury, PA 16695.
Consistory to Meet April 30
Joel Ritchey, president, has called a meeting of the consistory (with social distancing) for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in the fellowship hall.
If you have an item you would like the consistory to consider, please contact Joel or the pastor in advance.
This meeting will not be open to visitors as they usually are. The consistory, called “church board” in some congregations, consists of nine members including the pastor. There are four elders and four deacons serving four-year terms.
In addition to the pastor and the Elder Joel, members are Brad Gable, Wayne Kagarise and David Snyder, elders; and Beth Clark, Cathy Snider, Charles Mountain and D. Christopher Kurtz, deacons. Beth serves as secretary and Cathy serves as treasurer.
Pastor Was Alone but Preached to Many
Easter Sunday at St. John’s was different from any previous Easter. Pastor Dave was the only one there, but he preached a sermon to many followers on line and concluded the service by offering communion to folks who provided their own elements at home.
The video was shot in front of the altar with its white parament, burning candles and white tulips in the altar vases.
The sermon was titled, “The Lingering Impact” and was based on Luke 24:1-12. If you missed it on Easter, it is still available on the internet. Click on the “live stream” tab at the top of the home page. The later sermons are there as well.
The sunrise service and breakfast were cancelled, as was Sunday School.
Until further notice, all activities at the church are suspended, including Sunday evening Bible Study.
Mother, Son Helping Others During Crisis
Kim Rodgers has been spending more time in the kitchen during the COVID-19 shutdown. Besides her on-line duties as a public school teacher, Kim has been trying new recipes and packaging many of them. Her son Ethan Hess happily plays the role of distributor, hanging bags on people’s door knobs. Ethan calls it “doing meals on wheels.”
Who We Are
This month’s Jottings features Donna Smeltzer, who lives in Loysburg Gap. She is a full-time LPN at UPMC Altoona and therefore sometimes misses worship, depending on her work schedule, but when in church she attends Peg Wachter’s Sunday School class and is active in Women’s Guild.
My name is Donna Smeltzer. I grew up in Pittsburgh as one of three triplets plus one older brother. We grew up being Catholic.
My Mom and Dad were both hard working business owners of a bar and restaurant for 17 years. My Mom was a wonderful care taker of us plus my dad believed in hard work and had us working as soon as we could reach the kitchen sink! I learned a lot from my Mom, who had good common sense.
I was married and raised my daughter Breanna, who is doing well and on her own now. We were both active in the community and with St. John’s Church, area Girl Scouts, Food Bank, Love INC, yard sales and many others. I am a loyal person to my job and church, would help anybody in need and pitch in where I am needed.
I enjoy being outdoors, visiting state parks, doing yard work, and I love animals of all kinds. I worked as a waitress for several years, where I got to see a different side of the public. I have been an LPN at UPMC Altoona Hospital for six years now.
I hope to keep in good health until I retire and plan on keeping active in the community and church as well as spending time with my family and friends.