January 2021

My Dear Friends,

Each year for some time now I have related the story of the Roman god Janus, from whom we get “January”. The story of Janus, I think, is even more appropriate as we move into 2021.

Janu — the god of beginnings and transitions — had two faces, one pointing forward and the other pointing toward the rear. That image of this Roman god always suggests to me that it might be a good idea for us to do the same.

Unquestionably, the year 2000 has been the most difficult year most of has ever experienced. We each have been in a literal battle for our lives, and we all have someone for whom we grieve who lost that battle to The Virus. Unfortunately, many experts in the field tell us it will not be over soon.

So, what’s the value in looking back to a year like that?

Well, we look back not to morbidly dwell on such a year, but to see what it has taught us. The fundamental thing we Christians must remember is that the year 2020 was under God’s control, as is all time. Covid 19 did not take God by surprise and I do believe that there are lessons in our struggle that God wants us to learn.

First, let’s remember that all of time is under God’s control. In fact, “time” as we have ordered it here on earth — minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years — does not exist in God’s economy. We have created these divisions of time, necessarily, so that we can (hopefully!) live an orderly life together as humans. Those divisions are not necessary in God’s Kingdom.

Second, let’s not forget that often, when God sends something our way, there are lessons to learn. We could look at it as a test or a reminder of what we should be doing as Christians. One of the lessons we have learned as a church family is the importance of staying in touch with each other and finding creative ways to reach out to our family . . . a lesson we are still working on!

Third, I think we have all learned or re-learned just how interconnected our world really is. We have been reminded that we all live on the planet called “earth” and that what I do can affect others on this planet, so well-illustrated by the matter of wearing a mask.

So, Christians, let’s not fear. God gave each of us a brain and some talents and skills, so let’s use them as best we can. Let’s listen more closely and more sympathetically to those who have the enormous task of leading us through these tough days. The rest? God will handle that.

Let me also say a word to the many of you who have courageously, bravely, and diligently stepped up during this pandemic to keep our church on the right (health!) path. Not all of you heroes have been able to come together physically, but you have found so many ways to be supportive and encouraging. Our task force and our deacons have done a phenomenal job! Thanks to all!

Our Board of Deacons has appointed a small committee we call the “Celebration Sunday Committee”. You can easily guess what their role will be when we get the clearance to return to full operations. It truly will be a time of celebration, but we don’t have to wait to celebrate . . . there are so many blessings God has given us that we can celebrate right now.

And remember what Jesus said, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father delights in giving you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

In the love of Christ!  

Love, Michael