Greetings and blessings to my beloved Bethel UM church family…
I have been here just a few short months, and though I have met a few of you, I long to see your faces. I hope the day will come when we can meet in person, share a cup of coffee, and tell our stories.
We find Thanksgiving approaching, and with it comes both joy and sorrow. Many of you will be gathering with more family/friends this year than you did last year. But some have lost a loved one in this past year. We cannot gather in the same way as we did in 2019, but even as we sorrow over that loss, we have learned new ways and new technology, so we can gather with people that distance and health may have kept us from previously.
This past Sunday’s lectionary lesson was Mark 13:1-8 where Jesus tells his disciples that the great and powerful temple they see will be torn apart, “Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down." His disciples hear this as something to be feared: the world as they know it will be changed, the temple where they worship will be gone, and they ask for the signs. But Jesus tells them to not be alarmed at all the bad taking place: he says, “This is but the beginning of the birthpangs.”
In the last year and a half, we, too, have faced pain. It has ranged from the simple annoyance of having to change our routines, to having to remember to wear a mask, to fear of the virus that has killed more than 762,000 in the United States alone. Some of us have caught the virus: you may have continuing effects from it. Some have lost their lives, some have lost their jobs. For all this we grieve.
But as we gather this year in ones or twos or more, as we break bread together, let us remember and be thankful: in the midst of it all, God is with us. God will never desert us. God will walk with us into this new future. God knows the way and will guide u.
This season remember to give thanks: for the people you love, for your home and the comforts you have within that home, For this beautiful world, and the majesty of nature that reflects but a glimmer of God’s majesty. (here is Haydn’s glorious attempt to bring that to us musically: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6LSyPNeIBp4)
I pray that you might join us in worship this season. Let us be called together into the anticipation of Jesus’ arrival and let us hear God’s message in the scripture. Please see the schedule of worship that is included with this letter.
We are called to give and be generous this season. There are many ways, small and large, to share the blessings we have, and a page on ways you may give this season is included. And I pray that you will be blessed in the giving.
Peace and joy,