It’s really hard to be in a bad mood when you are grateful.
Lately, it’s been easy for me to feel cheerful, because there are so many blessings for me to reflect on. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians (which he writes from prison), he begins with a word of gratitude. In chapter 1, verse 3, he writes:
3 I thank my God every time I remember you, 4 constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you,
I know how he feels.
Not the writing from prison part, but the grateful part. Paul was blessed by the relationships of a loving community of faith that nurtured him and one another through good times and bad. They prayed for each other and they provided for each other, as well as for the mission of Paul’s ministry. Thinking of them gave Paul reason to rejoice.
During the last two months, we have been walking together through one of the greatest challenges of modern history. There is no manual for doing church in the midst of a pandemic, and yet, through every decision, and at every turn, you have been supportive and gracious. When we set out tables for donations of food and medical supplies, you brought them. When we asked you to watch our services on-line, you tuned in. When we asked you to continue meeting in your small groups in virtual chat rooms, you logged on. When we asked you to learn new technologies so that we could stay connected, you figured it out. When we asked you to give on-line so we could continue our ministry, you dug deep.
And now, as we approach the middle of May, we continue to face more questions than we have answers. And yet, we approach them without fear. We approach them without fear because we continue to have faith in a God who continues to lead us into a future that He designed. We approach them without fear, because we have faith that what God is leading us into is better than what He is leading us out of. God is still on the throne. God is still good. God remains at our side.
Admittedly, it is easy to write with such boldness when you are buttressed by a strong community. It would be much more difficult to see the bright future that God has in store if I were writing this in isolation.
This is where the gratitude comes in. Thank you for being the church that you are. Thank you for demonstrating to me, week after week, that you are the Church of Jesus Christ – a force so strong that the gates of Hell will never take it down.
Your First Impressions Team continues to work on a plan to safely reopen St. Philip’s in the coming weeks. We are getting closer, and July 5 remains our goal. Stay on top of news, ways to stay connected and opportunities to give through our e-news and by following our Facebook and Instagram accounts.