We have watched over the last 8 to 12 weeks as everything we take for granted has been either changed, re-routed, delayed and cancelled.
We are now practicing self isolation for at least the next two weeks and I fear it will be longer.
We have witnessed the fear and uncertainty, along with good old fashioned greed on the nightly news, as people hoard certain items. We also have witnessed the unselfish ways in which health care providers, first responders, and local officials have responded to try and stem this pestilence in their and our communities. Mostly by saying, "it's my job. This is what I'm trained to do"
I don't know about you, but while I always knew something like this could happen, I never thought I would experience it.
I have searched my mind and heart for words that I could offer as a source of comfort to all of you in this trying time, and that is why it has taken me so long to respond to this need. Because it is times like these, that cause us to really take stock of what is truly important in our lives.
As I thought about all of you, images of each of you float through my mind, and memories that are associated with those images. The good times, the dinners, the plays, the many worship services that we have shared in. Images of those who have gone from our presence also fill my mind as a beautiful tapestry takes shape that is the E39th st congregation. Even though I have not always been a member here, I have shared in the hard times too, as one after another have shared their story with me. I am forever grateful that all of you have blessed me with your presence and counted me worthy to be trusted with your story.
Now, as we embark on a journey where we are in many ways adrift, let us, each one, reach back, find those memories, use those memories to find purpose as there is much we still can do even though we are apart. Continue to reach out to one another and the world at large, for the world desperately needs us. I am reminded of a scripture that I have clinged to many times in my own life and find comfort, and that is Paul's letter to Rome. Chap 8 v35-39 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, distress, famine, nakedness, peril, or the sword? For I am persuaded, that neither death, life, angels, principalities, powers, things to come, or things present, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus."
I think we can take comfort there now as well. This event may change some of the ways we do things. It may take some of us from our presence, one thing is certain, we will get through it. Continue to hold each other up in prayer, as I do each of you daily. I pray God's richest blessing upon you all.
Jim, Ralph, Duane, John.