Simon Says"  

Simon Says…

My Beloved Friends,

     It has continued to be a difficult year for the entire country, and our world. Daily news of growing infection and strife have played out on our screens and caused us to constantly adjust our expectations of what church can look like, and when we might expect some normalcy in our daily lives, much less in our church routine. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have stressed, and we have collectively agreed, that out of love for others, both within our church community and outside of it, we would look at the reality of what was happening in our world and be led by the things we were seeing and heed the advice of those who are better positioned than we are to interpret the data and make recommendations. Unfortunately, like many things in our world and our lives, this has been a divisive issue. Not just the pandemic itself, but many of the recommended safety measures have been political talking points all year.

     We have hit walls at 6 months, 7 months, 8 months and counting in terms of our mental and emotional ability to deal with everything this year has thrown at us, and continues to throw at us. It’s enough to make us question the whole point of why we continue to try to connect with one another as we are able in these times. It can be hard, and it can be depressing, and make us uncertain of ourselves and how our world can ever emerge from this crisis.

    As followers of Christ, it is our mission and our calling to be servants to one another. In the just begun season of Advent and through Christmastide and into the celebration of Epiphany, we begin to tell the story of the good news again. We see an infant in a manger, we see wise men offering gifts, we hear angels singing and shepherds praising God. It is a busy time, but what should not get lost in the muddle of the season, or the story, is that Love became flesh and walked among us. In Jesus, the baby in Bethlehem, we meet our calling face to face. None are as helpless in our world as a baby, none need constant care and assistance like a baby. Few tasks in life are as selfless and singularly focused on the needs of another as caring for someone who is unable to do it for themselves.

     This Holiday Season, will we continue to reach out? Will we seek out others in ways that are new, ways that respect the need to keep everyone safe and healthy? Can we find ways that show we are able to care for each other, even like we would care for a small child?

We care for each other because we are called to share the love of God, and the Light of Christ with the world. Even in our divisions, uncertainty, imperfections, and exhaustion, there are reasons to be jubilant and celebrate the things we have. While we have not had the year we expected to, way back in January and February, we have still had a year to remember. We have not been together as much as we would have liked, but we still were together. We were unable to send people to camp, or share in an installation service, or worship together or visit as much as we would have liked.

     But we have kept each other in love. We have prayed for each other. We have written to and called each other. We have returned to the older ways of building a community when those we love are more distant than we would like. And, no matter what the future holds, we will continue to do all of this and more as we walk towards the future, boldly, with love in our hearts and compassion and care on our minds. We will lament the things we have lost, but we will also face the future prepared to meet any challenge in a new way. We have proven our love and perseverance for one another, for God, and for caring for one another.

     May our holidays be merry, even when we are apart. May our Love be true, even when we cannot meet face to face, and may our commitment to loving and caring for all people be our driving calling and goal, no matter what rises up to cast doubt and fear into our minds. God will be with us, and we will weather all storms, with the help of God who strengthens us, with the help of Christ who frees us, and with the help of the Holy Spirit who sustains our efforts. Amen.

                                                                             Pastor Bryan