MIDWEEK MESSAGE #40
Hello and welcome to Midweek Message #40. You missed me didn’t you? Now be careful what you say. You could destroy a super sensitive ego if you say, “You were gone? Seriously?” Not really but it helps to dream doesn’t it? 🙂 I guess one could say the ‘ol COVID virus took out its revenge on me. But I can honestly say I have not had it as bad others have. Many in our church family picked up this strain that was particularly nasty and raised my prayer level for them. I’m continuing to pray for those who have recovered and especially for those who now have it. All of the staff and their spouses got it. But praise God we are all on the mend.
Diana has already sent out an email telling you about being virtual only again this Sunday. Trust me when I say this is NOT what any of us wants. The elders, the staff, no one. But it is the safest way to go to stop the spread of this virus in our church fellowship and our community. As Diana’s note also mentioned we will continue to monitor this on a week-by-week basis. Each week the staff gets together on Thursday to look at the stats and what is suggested for OC. We made it earlier this week due to the ugly stats we are facing and the hard times our church family is enduring. Thanks for understanding and please, if you have any questions, just ask.
Many of you were watching the live stream this past week and then all of a sudden lost it. Ryan posted on the church’s FB page and on YouTube that we had an internet outage here at the church which lasted approximately 7-10 minutes. I could see Jo signaling to Ryan and then see him rushing around trying to figure out what was wrong. I appreciate his diligence in trying to troubleshoot the problem. It was not our equipment nor yours. It was something beyond our control. At the end of the broadcast Ryan did come up and tell what happened and mentioned that you could go to the podcast on the church’s website and listen for that missing section. And to think…it was a dynamite sermon. LOL
I think most people are familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper and Magnolia Farms in Waco, TX. When Jo and I happened upon Fixer Upper in 2019 I was instantly captivated by the show. I am not a DIY person (unfortunately) but loved watching the transformation of a house. Of course, you would expect me to make the connection to the transformation of a person, but that is not my point here. At the beginning of the year, Chip posted the following blog on Magnolia. I included it in Cycleguy’s Spin blog for the New Year, and even though I’m sure many of you read my blog, I still thought I would include it here for you:
Let’s just call it like it is: 2020 was rough. Not rough around the edges. Not rough in a lovable sort of way. Just straight up rough.
Watching the news, hearing messages of doubt, and division, stories of loved ones passing away, seeing so many lose their jobs and live at odds with their neighbors. That stuff gets to me, it’s heartbreaking, and I know I’m not the only one who feels this way.
But you don’t need another reminder of what this year cost. Across the board, we all lost something. We all sacrificed something. We all watched something we had worked incredibly hard for be put on hold or forgotten or lost altogether. And without a doubt, we need time to grieve and reflect on the heartbreak, the sadness, and the loss.
But maybe today is a time to be reminded that darkness always gives way to light, that endings always give way to new beginnings. That the ups don’t last forever, and neither do the downs. Between peaks there are always valleys, and no matter how long we’re in the valley, we can always look up and see that we’re not just wandering around in vain, that hope really does carry us forward.
It’s been said that there’s a time for everything. A time for weeping and a time for laughing. A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to mourn and a time to dance. We’ve all lived through these varying seasons before, but never all together. This year changed that.
And it got me thinking.. whatever it is that divides us pales in comparison to the thread that weaves us together, that guides us toward an understanding of why we’re all here. What it all means. What this life we’ve been given is really for.
For me, as I step into 2021, I know we can all love more. We can all understand more. We can all listen and learn more. We get a say in how we respond to all that’s happened in 2020, how much hope we’re going to carry across the valley and how much light we’re going to shine into the darkness. Through the words we speak. Through forgiveness. Through how we engage with our neighbors. Through the way we empathize with those who have lost in unimaginable ways. Through the way we talk to our kids about all that’s going on. Through the way we support those in need. We get to decide how much goodness and beauty is shared throughout our homes, our cities, the world. Right now, wherever we are.
I pray we take with us the eternal lessons of 2020 and hold fast to the hope that is just around the corner.
Good words I want to leave you with this week. Love you much.