October 15, 2020 (Week 31)
Sisters and brothers in Christ, Good Morning!
We are in the middle of a phase of the pandemic that is dangerous. It is dangerous, not just because of the virility of the disease, but because people are just getting fed up with the precautions, the conversation, the isolation, and everything that has resulted in social and economic upheaval. We hear about all the deaths, particularly in our country, but most of us have not been personally touched. That makes this long and enduring crisis, seem even more unbearable to us....for some, almost surreal.
That state of mind provokes a variety of reactions in people. Disbelief, cynicism and in the most desperate of cases, a proclivity towards unbridled and irrational conspiracy theories, which are becoming the signs of the times. This negativity, largely because we’re in the middle of a political election season, has given risen to an unparalleled degree of polarization in our country. Civility is all but a thing of the past on a national level. One side blames the other for everything wrong. Some ignore reality in favor of an illusion of prosperity and well-being. Others vilify those in authority, unfairly cherry-picking criticisms and burying successes. American society seems to becoming downright mean spirited.
In personal relationships, there is suffering. Parents are becoming unduly fatigued by their children. Couples are in often in constant crisis, with no respite in sight. The demands for pastoral care and counseling are at an all time high. And in the face of all of this, clergy, psychologists, and therapists of all sorts, are experiencing extreme exhaustion.
The thing that we in the church have to offer is something that seems largely forgotten. Hope. Real, undeniable, tangible and wonderful hope. There is Hope!
If I have lost a loved one because of or during the COVID-19 pandemic, I can have hope in what God has done for me in Christ Jesus. Death is not the end. Eternal life is ours! That seems of little comfort, but the fact is that death is a part of life irrespective of its cause, and the only thing to which God’s people can ever cling is the Hope won in the death and resurrection of Jesus our Savior. Yes indeed, there is Hope!
If I have lost my job because of COVID-19, I can have hope because the economy will invariably heat up again. A real solution, a vaccine will come. Credible suggestions just today, put that around April of 2021. Seems far away, but it’s comparatively close-by. There is Hope!
If there is stress in our households, we can step back and look at where our hope comes from. Having faith is not a matter of giving verbal allegiance to the divine, but truly trusting beyond all things known and unknown, that God has us in God’s hands, just because that is what God has promised. We can proactively remind ourselves of this by enacting the advice offered above...”love intentionally; love inclusively; love universally; love completely; love everyone, always; LOVE BETTER! In this, brothers and sisters, we have Hope!
All of the inconveniences of managing this pandemic are not behind us, not yet. We have a ways to go. But, we do have Hope! Please let that be what guides you in the living of your life among God’s people. All of the people you encounter everyday, are people for whom Jesus died. Whether they are Democrat or Republican, caucasian or African American or Asian American, young or old or middle-aged, poor or rich or middle income...every single one of these people is your sister, your mother, your brother, your father, YOUR CHILD. And everyone of them is loved by God so much that God came into this world for the sole purpose of redeeming them! (And thankfully, us!). Start living as if you believe that! Live love as you’ve never done it before! Now is the time to love. Let go of your agenda, and live love. This is not a call to complacency or negligence, it is a call to what is ultimately and singularly important. Actually living love in the world.
As we struggle along, please know that your church is there for you. In all of the worship, devotional and spiritual activities you can discover on our website, but also in supporting you where ever and whenever we can. If you have a need, please call...we are here for you!
Peace and grace,
- 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: