Well, I am late getting FirstTracks out this week! It's been an unusual week, and it is going to be an unusual weekend. As a result, I want to spend my space here today with few thoughts about what is likely to happen on Sunday here in the Vail Valley, and to ask you to pray for us!
As you may know, about two weeks ago we were made aware that the "Westboro 'baptist' church'", an abhorrent hate group, intends to hold multiple 'protests' this weekend at several churches here in our Valley. The group sent a formal notification of their intentions to local law enforcement, along with the list of 'apostate' churches they would be protesting. And yes, we have the honor of being on that list.
If you plan to join us for Worship on Sunday (as I sincerely hope you do!), a word about our preparation and how we must essentially respond if they indeed show up.
- First, and by far the most important, our response will be to ignore this group and stay as far away from them as possible. Their entire strategy revolves around baiting people into approaching them, and then attempting to file lawsuits claiming infringement of their freedom of speech rights. It is through this strategy that they fund their activities. So, to ALL of us as the Trinity Family, I emphatically request that we not approach this group in any way. The best response is to deny them their greatest desire, which is an audience.
- Second, based upon Westboro's own schedule, we do not anticipate them coming to our Edwards service. If they do, Eagle County law enforcement will be present, and they will not be permitted to enter the church property.
- Third, if you attend our Beaver Creek service, please do not be afraid to come! We need your presence, and we will be having our service as normal. Westboro has informed the Sheriff's office that they intend to arrive at the Beaver Creek Chapel between 10:30 and 10:45. Our goal is to be completely departed before they arrive. Arrival for our 9:30 start time will be completely unaffected, and IF Westboro has arrived when we are leaving, there will be law enforcement present, and we will escort you to your vehicles as necessary- although I do not expect this to be an issue. Again, if you normally would attend our Beaver Creek service, I sincerely invite you to not be deterred. Preparations have been made, and I personally am at peace that there will be no problems.
A quick word about this on a spiritual level. This Sunday (when we will also be celebrating communion), we are in our fourth week into the Book of Romans. Up to this point, Paul has focused on laying the groundwork for the truly miraculous truth of the Gospel- Salvation and New Life that is by Faith, and Faith alone, through God's Amazing Grace! To make the case for just how incredbily GOOD this news is, Paul first has taken us through the reality of sin, and why none of our own efforts will ever bring us to God. With this in mind- and this is only possible through the Holy Spirit- may we respond in our hearts to this group not with anger or hatred of our own, but with humility and prayer. The leaders of this group are deceivers, but most of their 'members' are people who have been deceived. It is up to God to Judge (last Sunday's message), and it our calling to Trust in our Sovereign God and express His Love and Nature not just to people like those in the Westboro 'church', but to everyone. May this Sunday's events remind us all the more of the desperate need of our culture to learn how to Love, to Listen, and to honor one another before God, especially when we disagree with each other. In Christ, may this begin with us.
Lastly, HERE is a link to a 'Ted talk' by a former member of the Westboro group. It is an excellent presentation, and I encourage you to give it a watch.
SO, I hope to see you Sunday if you are in town! We will wrap up Romans chapter two, seeing how God is not after legalistic adherence to rules or tradition, but is after our hearts. Pray for God to be Glorified in our Valley, and keep praying for rain!
Love you all,
A person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.