Pastor’s Newsletter Message – August 2020
~ How Long? ~
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?”
~ Psalm 13:1
Dear Members and Friends,
The cry of Psalm 13 is, “How long?” And that’s the question on everyone’s minds these days, too. How long will this pandemic last? How long till there’s a vaccine? How long will I be cut off from friends and family? How long can we stand it? Most things are bearable if you know how long you’ll have to endure them. Get into a car chase with the police? It’ll get you five years behind bars, which is long enough, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. A messy roommate in college? Well, it’s just for one academic year. A broken foot? You won’t be able to put any weight on it for about eight weeks. A bad cold? It’ll run its course in few days, a week tops. But a new pandemic? How long till we can sing in church again? We don’t know. And that’s the hardest thing of all, the not knowing.
And yet, there are many things we don’t know. In fact…we don’t know most things. With 40 billion other habitable planets in the Milky Way alone, we don’t know what life might look like out there among the stars. We don’t know what wondrous creatures or miracle cures lie hidden deep in the Amazon rainforests. We still don’t know for sure if Lee Harvey Oswald was working on his own. We’re never going to know where Jimmy Hoffa is. But more than that, we do not know when or how we will die. Even the most predictable life is prone to surprises. We don’t know what tomorrow holds for any of us, and we don’t honestly know much about what lies on the other side of death either. But we manage to live without that knowledge, and most of us are doing all right. Despite the Great Unknowing that circles our heads like a pack of crows, we make the coffee, read the paper, tell jokes, laugh, sleep, find things to enjoy.
Knowledge is a beautiful thing, but not knowing is part of the human condition, too. Can we cherish the things we know and entrust the rest to God’s care? Can we find ways to enjoy this time despite our worries about the economy, our investments, our loneliness, and all the other discontents of this day? Can we live this day with courage and with strength without knowing when or how a new day will dawn upon us? This is the day that’s been appointed to us. Not only must we meet its challenges with grace, but we must manage to live our lives in it, to enjoy it the best we can, and to participate in Christ’s mission to the world, which is the business of Christians in every age. (Our Mission Committee has remained VERY BUSY during the pandemic, and I applaud them for it. The needs of the world do not go away.) There are things we can do without knowing when this will end. We can love each other. We can speak out for the just treatment of the vulnerable. We can be the salt of the earth and the light of the world that Jesus named us in his Sermon on the Mount.
“How long, O Lord?” We don’t know. But let us live this day with courage and with hope…and like people who’ve been given a job to do. I feel blessed to be experiencing these days with you.
In Christ’s Peace,