Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:30, 31
What a year we swam through in 2020! The unprecedented challenges became a new norm for all of us. Hundreds of thousand lives were lost by Covid 19, and we gradually accept this horror as if it were part of a familiar event. Between the sweeping casualties and the hopeful stories with the vaccines, we were confused, at times, between hope and fear.
We hear the voice of Isaiah again, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” In the middle of sad and fearful news, we still hang on to hope as the audience of the prophet did. Tears wet our souls, and the word opens the new year with possibilities. Serving the church of Christ, we are called to serve, ponder, pray, and hope. My prayers for the year of 2021 include the following. I as your pastor would like to pay close attention to these words:
Calling is not a job order but “becoming” Christ’s disciples each day. Call is the central event that constitutes us to be the followers of the Lord. This means that who we are and who we become are centered around how we serve, hope, and resemble Christ. Remember our call. And live out our life-agenda based on the call. Through our study, service, prayers, worship, and fellowship, we are to build our spiritual life together. Yes, the spiritual life that is unique to our church and authentic to our community.
Remember God calls you, and this call cannot be a “part time charity; it is holistic and sacred…
Communing is a deeper sense of connectedness. We are friends but go beyond our friendship or fellowship. Our church has a blessed history of ministry. And the closeness within the congregation has been a strong base for the ministry, and we should be thankful for that and celebrate it. Going a bit further, we are to be called “Soul-Friends.” The depth of our connectedness goes beyond the exchange of favors between the congregants. Soul-Friends share each other’s soul in serving Jesus and build Christ’s communing body at Wilmington Methodist.
Worship and Liturgy should be done in this deep communing connectedness. The presence and image of God will be shared with one another, and there we become a communing body of Christ.
In our study groups and classes, we may discover a deeper relationship with God. For this year, there will be Lenten study, beginning February 19 through April 2, every Friday. A resurrection and Easter study will follow the Lenten study from April 16 for 5-6 weeks. And “Book Club” will be available for anyone to participate via zoom, and this will be on our calendar when it is appropriate. The year-end Advent study will be between Nov. 26 and Dec. 17, 2021.
Pastoral visits should be on our agenda as soon as we know we are safe, and the pandemic is no longer a threat.
We do not know how these plans unfold. Our prayers surround us to have hope in God and renew our strength.
Doing the ministry of Christ requires teamwork. How we do ministry is done by mutual support. The Administrative and Ministry Council’s work will be done as we “Fit in together.” Sharing different skills, talents, and time availability, we may have “Fit-in” teams to do the ministry. Invitation and efficiency have to be balanced as we search and practice “Fit-in” collaborations.
From Sunday School, Youth, Outreach, Worship to all other groups in the ministry, we are interconnected with collaborating spiritual and temporal job descriptions.
Because the Spirit of Jesus is present in and with us, what we do together must have a spirit of celebration. Whatever we do for the sake of the glory of God, we are to be grateful always, and to celebrate what has been done, guided by the Spirit. Celebrate a small project we worked on together; celebrate a big achievement in Jesus’ name.
Whatever we do and who we are, there would not be a meaningful “next” without celebrating “now.” Celebrate the ministries. Celebrate one another in Christ’s name.