Dear friends and members of RLC,
These are strange days we are living through. My Dad, who is 92, says he has never lived through such a time as this: one so fraught with loneliness, anxiety and greed. It is easy to feel overwhelmed, despondent.
Yet as people of faith, we trust that God walks with us—even through such days. And we trust that God can bring something beautiful even out of this darkness.
“We have come this far by faith, leaning on the Lord, trusting in his holy word, he's never failed us yet.” This has been our theme for the past several weeks at Resurrection. It has been a good reminder to me to remember where we have been and so, to hope for where we are going.
It is lonely living physically distanced from one another. I miss being able to gather safely in large groups. I miss worshipping with all of you in person. Yet, I know that we are doing what is necessary at this time to protect one another. I know that by God's Holy Spirit we are connected. I know that this will not last forever.
And I am aware of how blessed we are to live in a time of advanced technology. It matters that we are able to talk with one another on the telephone, to e-mail each other, connect on social media. It matters that we are able to record our worship services and play them each week. And we have been blessed by an anonymous gift to our congregation to update our recording capabilities. Even as I write, new equipment is being installed. It is true that we sometimes feel lonely; but the truth is that we are never alone.
As for anxiety, it is like it floats in the air we breathe. There is so much unknown. When will this pandemic end? Will my loved ones survive it? Will I? Will I find another job? Will my kids and grandkids get a good education? Will we citizens of the United States ever feel united?
As such questions swirl in my brain, I force myself to do a simple exercise. I breathe and repeat the following: “Breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe out fear and doubt.” I visualize my fears and doubts floating away. I remember that I have all I need at that moment, that I am a beloved child of God, filled with God's Spirit.
And as for greed, it is easy to feel as if people only want to take care of themselves. Our unwillingness to inconvenience ourselves for the well-being of one another by wearing a mask, staying physically distanced, avoiding large gatherings, can be discouraging.
Yet remembering the generosity of the members of RLC through this very difficult year can act as a remedy. I have been inspired these past few weeks as I have reflected with you in worship about RLC's support of Divine Intervention Ministries, Journey's Lutheran School, Outreach for Hope, Kikwe and Kaarangai parishes in Tanzania, the New Berlin Food Pantry. We, as a congregation, have not let fear rule us, but rather have lived from faith.
I pray that we will make our pledges toward next year's ministry from the place of faith. Faith that knows 2020 will not last forever. That God who creates us has a future and a hope for us.
Sometimes it feels like loneliness, anxiety and greed define us. They do not. Faith, hope and love do. For they are of God-- and so are we.
Peace, my friends,