Be of good courage because together we will make it

Dear friends,

I look forward to a day that doesn’t begin with a coronavirus update. I’m sure you do, too.

Everyone has been affected or inconvenienced in one way or another. First and foremost, we lift up those who have been diagnosed with the virus, those around the world who have died, and families who have been torn apart by the loss of life. My daily inconveniences pale in comparison to what they are going through.

Likewise, those who have lost jobs or whose income has been severely restricted, who are now stressing over making rent or buying food. I’ve heard some beautiful stories of landlords halting rent for the foreseeable future and neighbors providing food for each other. And special kudos to our school system for providing breakfast and lunch to students who otherwise might not have a healthy meal to eat. School bus drivers and teachers never imagined using bus routes to transport hot meals to kids, but that’s what they’re doing every day of the week.

I’m sensitive to those who have lost loved ones during this crisis, who have made the hard decision of delaying funerals or staging small, family-only graveside services.

And what about those with wedding plans? Everything has changed, no doubt.

And our high school seniors? I’m particularly sensitive to that one, of course, because I have a high school senior at home. Spring sports, proms, and all kinds of seniors-only activities have been cancelled, although principals have assured this class of 2020 that they’ll think in creative ways to make sure their senior year is remembered positively.

That applies to our college seniors, too. Walking across the graduation stage is something you remember the rest of your life. I have no doubt they’ll find other ways to commemorate this special achievement, but still ….

How do we navigate our way through all the loss? I’m going to sound extremely sappy right now but bear with me: Be together. Social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation, but it does demand that we think in creative ways. Sure, watch movies together, FaceTime together, send handwritten notes to each other, surprise each other with a special message or treat or gift. Be particularly aware of those in your “world” who live alone. Prepare a meal for Rowan Helping Ministries and take it to them (that’s a BIG need, by the way). Call a teacher and say thanks.

In other words, show that we’re all in this together.

There’s a story of Jesus and his disciples in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. When a storm broke out, the disciples were terribly afraid, but found that Jesus was asleep – wondering, perhaps, if Jesus didn’t care.

What the disciples soon realized was that Jesus, even then, was preparing to bring calm to their storm. His first words were these: “Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” In other words, we’re all in this together.

… which gives us every reason in the world to be of good courage, even though life isn’t going as planned. Be of good courage, friends, because together we’ll make it. God promises us that.

Our very best to you and yours.

+Pastor Rhodes


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