Pastor's Message - View from the Pulpit...
This is “next year” in the phrase “Maybe Next Year…” that we heard so many times last year.
In the column I wrote then for the December/January newsletter, I said, “We hear and use the phrase ‘maybe next year’, and it doesn’t have anything to do this time with some underperforming sports team.” I was considering all the aspects of our congregational life which had been altered, postponed, cancelled, quarantined, moved, downsized, or irrevocably changed, as I, in November was anticipating the coming time frame of December and January.
And oh wow, what a time it became. December was very challenging. January followed with not very much less strain. We had losses to our congregation’s families, schedules, and staffing, which were so difficult. New information came in at quite a speedy pace, calling for response, change, “stoppage,” to use another sports phrase. It is painful to remember.
We rose above much with which we were faced! We responded as best we could, with the information we had at hand.
I give thanks for the patience, flexibility, care for each other, and most importantly, the faith in Christ that we shared. Though it is a year later (next year is here), life is different, and still not “the same.” Some of our previously regular routines have returned; many are still waiting to do so (and there are those which we know may never return).
But now, a year later, even with normalcy tempting us with its yearnings of a reality which may never actually existed, I nevertheless don’t have so much the feeling of deep challenge I did a year ago. The vaccines are doing their jobs. We had our warm weather services out in New Goshenhoppen Park. With the challenges, New Goshenhoppen Church never closed and with the months and through the losses there have been the bright highlights of new members, baptisms, weddings, problems encountered and solved, resources and generosity previously unrealized, and blessed times of worship and service experienced. And while there is more I am no doubt not remembering at the moment, congratulations. Congratulations on making it this far. Pause and take a cleansing breath; draw in the sustaining Spirit of God, and breathe out the detritus, as a new church year beckons with Advent soon to arrive.
May God’s blessings be with you, your families, and all the corners where you make a difference, in these days.