Sisters and Brothers,
All praise to Our Redeeming and Sustaining Lord whose providence has again proved sufficient for a truly varied year.
We could not have anticipated the events of the past year, and the pervasive effects of COVID-19 when the year started. However, what we affirmed as we usually do in the Annual Covenant Service, is that God’s grace will prove sufficient for all that we are required to undertake. And so, while we look back through the stresses and sudden turns, the pain and discomfort, the doubts and tears and fears of the year behind us, we can say from experience that we have come through by grace.
With this assurance from lived experience, we can commit ourselves to the Lord’s service in this Connexional year, even though we cannot predict it. Our confidence comes from knowing that God is faithful who had promised. And so, with hope-filled excitement, tingled with concerns about the new normal which surrounds us, we can look ahead to life’s changing scenes, affirming like hymnist:
Round the corners of the world I turn,
More and more about the world I learn.
All the new things that I see
You’ll be looking at along with me.
As I travel through the bad and good,
Keep me travelling the way I should.
Where I see no way to go
You’ll be telling me the way, I know.
We can be very sure that the Lord will supply the courage we need for rough situations, and God will remain the source and ground of the love which we are called to share wherever we are. If we are determined to travel with God into the unknown, then life will be worth it, not just for ourselves but for those whom we will encourage in faith and influence to trust in God.
Difficult situations are not ones in which we should give up the fight, but rather the times in which we work more determinedly to help others know God’s love.
So then, while the onset of COVID-19 may have thwarted our ministry plans as we presented them last year, let us know for sure, that the all-knowing, all-sufficient God equips us for what is necessary in the new normal. Let us, Sisters and Brothers, invest ourselves in ‘what the Lord calls us to do, even as we defiantly proclaim:
Through all the changing scenes of life, in trouble and in joy
The praises of our God shall still our hearts and tongues employ.
Yours in God’s service
Joan Delsol Meade, Pastor