and activities have been cancelled until further notice.
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Beginnings and endings are the stuff of our lives. We begin one chapter as we end what came before. In the midst of transition is the unknown, the uncertain, the place where fear most often gets the best of us. Covid 19 is one such moment, we ended life as we knew it on Sunday March 8, 2020, and life as faithful followers of Jesus is in transition, as we do not know yet what will be the new beginning for Church. In the meantime, we keep doing what we can to maintain “normal” for those who are able to participate in our worship, either by Live Stream to YouTube, or on Zoom. We continue to make plans to return to a small in-person type of worship service(s) as we get the “mechanics” worked out. We continue to be faithful disciples who worship the Lord God. We pray, listen to sermons and worship music, participate in spiritually uplifting moments of devotional reading, and find ways to connect to God. These practices, rooted in rituals and traditions, help us in this in-between time, as the last chapter ends, and the next chapter begins.
Life outside of church continues for many of us, the same, and extraordinarily different. People retire, take new jobs, move to new homes, welcome new family members through marriage and birth, and say good-bye to those they have loved, and even find a new worshiping community, saying good-bye to Living Saviour. Beginning a new chapter, saying good bye to the old, is the rhythm of life. We look back at our lives and see the hand of God helping us through, and we know we can go forward with that same assurance, that our steadfast, abiding, faithful God is with us in those endings and beginnings, and especially in the turmoil in-between.
In the book of Genesis and Exodus we have been reading stories of our Hebrew ancestors who show us the reality of endings and beginnings. In our Exodus stories particularly, for over 400 years life in Egypt went on, first as free, but then as slaves to the Egyptian empire. We have heard the complaining, apprehension, and plain out fear, of what is happening and what will unfold. That is the way of life, once the chapter is ended, we reminisce and remember the good, often forgetting the bad, leading us to romanticize the past, which can make it tricky to move into the new beginning. The fear and anxiety hold us back, from embracing God’s future, God’s leading, God’s care. On Sunday (9/20) we will read the story of manna and quail raining from the heavens in response to the need for food. Manna is unlike anything eaten in Egypt, foreign, and it decays—gets wormy and moldy if held too long. Yet manna is the God-provided food, but it is new, unknown, and viewed suspiciously at first; not unlike our typical response to something new and unexpected. Beginnings are frequently like that.
As we move into endings of the old and beginnings of the new, as Exodus 16:9 says, “Draw near to the Lord…” remember that admonition, as it is the root and foundation of our faithful response, drawing near to the Lord our God who loves, intensely, deeply, fiercely the people God has called his own. God provides what is needed and essential in our lives. As you see what God is doing, has done, and promises to do, rejoice, give thanks, and know, God is with us always.
In Christ’s Love,