January 7, 2021 (Week 43)
Here we go again! Another new year, with all of the promise it brings, but a haunting sense of being stuck in a rut.
In the meantime, I sincerely hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and New Year, intentionally contacting loved ones near and far, as you best you were able. No doubt that contact and the type of celebration was likely decidedly different than ever before, but the celebration of Christ’s birth and the recognition and proclamation of God’s incarnation for all of us, is as important as it has ever been!
One of the countries in which I have been blessed to live and work is the kingdom of Thailand. That country has had a colorful political history, replete with incidences of coups. Someone once asked, how many coups have there actually been in Thailand in the past 100 years. That’s a remarkably difficult question to answer. Even when there has been a coup, it is usually peaceful, and without too terribly much incident. (The best guess is 20…11 unsuccessful and 9 successful). The last coup began in 2014 and lasted until 2019 when the general leading the coup was elected prime minister. In that 5 year period I visited and lectured in Thailand on three occasions, and transited through Thailand on three other occasions. In truth, on the first of trip, I wasn’t even aware that there had been a coup, and on each of those six times, I never experienced any issues or had any problems (with the possible exception of hearing many locals complaining vociferously about the corruption in government.) I have a European friend who lives there, with whom I’ve joked over the years about the “coup of the day”. Yesterday, we learned that such things may not be something to laugh about. Last evening my friend wrote me and asked, “Do you think this will be the beginning of a civil war in your country?”
As I write this, “our country” is in the middle of the recovery from an insurrection that many have said, was provoked by irresponsible leadership. There is much that might be said of this, and is elsewhere being said, but for me, I want to remind us all that through all things, we are called upon to witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That means, in the middle of life’s messes, and this is surely one of them, we can count on God. If we truly trust, and not just give lip-service to the name of Jesus, but live love as he commands us, we’re going to get through this. Of course, it is difficult for people of passion not to have (or to share an opinion), but somehow we must temper our passion (and our opinion) with civility, and above all else, love. When we don’t do that, we make the mess worse. Living love (in any real sense) seems lost on many of our leaders. It is time now for God’s people to demonstrate what real service looks life. It is self-sacrificial, not self-serving. It is marked by humility and decency, not arrogance and immorality. It is love that is lived, not hypocritically espoused and ignored.
And so, children of God, I call upon you to join me in the joyful insistence upon love, that is the mark of Christian life. Bigotry and ignorance wherever it is found, must be addressed to be sure, but we are not all tasked with big picture solutions. We are all however, asked to live love. Let’s do that!
Here at Incarnation, we are committed to providing God’s people with the best possible worship and devotional resources that we can muster. We want to empower each of us to live love, with all the help we can. Please access our website, (https://godamong.us) and click on the “ILC Online Activities” link to get to all the worship services, devotions, bible readings, bible studies, etc., that have been posted there. A couple of teasers on things to look forward to: Our church council will be meeting in retreat (online) to reflect on a strategic plan for the coming years. We’ll keep you posted with any and all exciting developments in the coming weeks. We’ll also be having our annual congregational meeting on January 31, via ZOOM. Watch for announcements.
We now have a growing number of members and friends who have been infected with COVID19. Please keep them in your prayers! As we go on in isolation, please remember to reach out to your church if there is anything with which we can help. We’re here for you. Always! You are blessed! Be a blessing!
- Before worship, around 9 am, Darrell and Nancy Datte host our after worship coffee/donut fellowship time (BYOC/D) on Zoom, and look forward to welcoming everyone in our community. Please think about joining in and saying hi to your brothers and sisters. That gathering can be found here: