Choose To Be Hopeful

Wow. What a year 2020 has been for all of us. Some have lost loved ones, some have endured illnesses. Some have lost jobs. But some have had babies, some have had new insights, some have had new starts. Yes, 2020 is behind us and as Christians our hope is that the best is yet to come. The future does have great potential, but how do we grab hold of that potential? How do we lift our eyes above the shadow of death and doubt and commit to making 2021 a great year?

We know that the Covid-19 Pandemic is not over: the vaccine (Praise the Lord!) is getting out, but it will still take months before it makes a real contribution. In light of that, how are we to consider the future for ourselves, for our families and for St. John church?  Let’s not allow Covid to be what keeps us from considering a better future. Let’s not allow Covid to be an excuse against thinking in positive ways. The love of God is bigger than Covid.

In 2020 significant changes were made to adapt to the pandemic.  One of the most significant was in the way we worship. The lake services were a great means of continuing our worship, but it too had its limitations. Livestreaming was something I was familiar with but had no idea it would become a normalcy for St. John. It forced us into modernity. Having to worship sitting on a couch in our pajamas may or may not be what you really want.  Some love it; most hate it. We all miss the community. Some have not been able to worship with us at all because of limited computer and internet access. Many of our members in the Towers have not been able to worship with us. We miss each other. However, these days of isolation and separation are numbered. I see us getting back together this year with each other in communal worship, with real live people sitting right next to us. I suspect when the decision to open fully is made it will still take some time to fill up the sanctuary, but it will be wonderful. I look forward to that day coming.

With a New Year here how will we seek to embrace optimistically the future before us? Some say clean out a closet, declutter your home. Some say start a journal and write thank you notes. All that is great, but let’s go deeper: let’s practice loving people by listening to them.  Let’s put kindness in our voices. Let’s let go of any anger or resentment that we have in our hearts.  Let’s look for the small miracles around us every day and give thanks to God: a bird that sings, a child that laughs, a friend that calls.  Let’s offer up a word of encouragement and hope to others. Let’s pray for each other, for our community, for our nation and for the world.

“God is doing a new thing, do you not perceive it?”  – Isaiah 43:19 

Jody Alderman