March 1, 2021
Beloved: It’s March! We now enter the month that a year ago made such a difference in all our lives. I am going to say more about this below, but I want to start this letter with an important invitation.
Tuesday night at 10pm on ABC, a 6-part series is going to start. It is called Soul Of A Nation. It will also show the following day on Hulu, and they said “On Demand.” I plan to watch it and I hope you will too. It says that it is a show by black people for all people on the black experience. I know when I watched the movie Hidden Figures, I learned some things I didn’t know about incredible contributions to our nation’s space program from people I never heard of before this movie. I believe this show will do the same: highlight the contributions of people we don’t always hear about, but also understand better what it is like to be black in America. I think we could benefit from discussing it too, so I am offering to lead a discussion group about the show. If you are interested, call the church office. I don’t know yet when we are going to meet: I will tailor it to the availability of people who want to engage in this conversation.
For our Lenten practice for this week, I am introducing Breath Prayer. Breath Prayer means you choose a phrase and say one part as you breathe in and the rest as you breathe out. You can say it out loud or quietly to yourself. It is a calming, meditative practice. Here are several examples:
Inhale: I will not be afraid Exhale: For you are with me. (Ps. 23)
Inhale: Be still Exhale: And know that you are God. (Ps. 46:10)
Inhale: You are our refuge Exhale: And our strength. (Ps. 46: 1)
Last, I want to comment on where we are with this one-year anniversary of enduring this pandemic. I am so impressed, and admire, the strength and fortitude of this congregation. You have continued to be gracious and giving, even as you have had your own worries and concerns. We have lost loved ones, and worried about loved ones, and been physically absent from loved ones, but our faith has remained strong. In my mind and heart, we are living out Romans 8, particularly these verses: 24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. Also, Romans 5: 1-5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
As your pastor, I just want you to know that I think you have done exceedingly well in these difficult circumstances. Soon, we will be able to gather in person again, though I don’t yet know when. I am watching the vaccination reports carefully; March is a critical month, and I trust everyone is praying that the distribution of vaccines ramps up. I am doubtful it will be enough for us to gather in the sanctuary for Easter, but it is possible and I am more hopeful for Pentecost. I am thus prayerfully considering how we can celebrate Easter in different ways this year. I will keep you posted!
Finally, beloved, may God’s love, and the peace of Christ, fill your hearts and souls!