Happy New Year!
This past week I have been sharing some positives from 2020. Things like surprising benefits of mask wearing beyond slowing the spread of germs, the way small businesses got creative and our communities took ownership of our local merchants and restaurants, and how we grew into deeper relationships as isolation stripped away surface level living with our people.
Another thing we seemed to figure out this past year is that professional sporting events, the world of eccentric celebrities and their over the top shenanigans…these are not essential to us. We finally acknowledged that the real heroes of our every day lives don scrubs and have been wearing masks for far longer than any of us ever gave a thought about. Additionally, teachers, parents, care givers, first responders…these were the people who rose up and took care of what really needed to be done while the rest of us tried to figure out how to navigate life in a new normal. I think we finally got a wakeup call to the underpaid and under appreciated people whose daily work is serving others.
There was all kinds of rhetoric about if church is essential and I finally just tuned out all sides of that discussion, but I can tell you that for me, the Church of Jesus Christ is essential to me. Fellowship with body of believers is essential to my life and I am thankful beyond words for the technology and efforts made by my local church and by the church around this country and the world for those who rose up and have continued to creatively lead us in worship and teaching throughout this pandemic.
As we enter into 2021, there are many good things gleaned from this trial that I hope have changed and transformed me. In my thinking I don’t see that we are magically over the struggles and “going back to normal” is in my estimation not going to look a whole lot like what we remember normal to be. Just like 911 forever changed the way we traveled, I am sure moving forward from this will be a landscape full of all of us adapting to a life we never pictured as our future.
I will say one of the greatest positives of 2020 is my prayer life has ramped up, been revitalized and overhauled to a new level of passion.
I pray for our cities and states to seriously be looking into the reforms in law enforcement rather than settling back into old patterns until the next incident reveals how much effort was put into making sure racism is not an issue in pursuing justice and promoting safe neighborhoods.
I join my prayers with the voices that are rising up in our black communities urging young people to stop using guns to settle disputes. I pray this movement will grip the hearts of those who have seen no way out but through belonging to a gang and I pray for a transformation of hope and purpose in the efforts of the leaders who are trying to get the attention of our young people.
I am concerned for the economy of our state and nation. You cannot continue to pump out money you don’t have. It’s a lovely thought, but at some point we all know if you are spending money on credit…the results are disastrous.
So I pray for what the future will look like for our young people and children when it all comes to a head. I pray in earnest for the Church of Jesus Christ to harken back to His teachings regarding the role of government, economics and moral living.
I pray we will not miss the wakeup call for the people of God. I pray we would revisit the things He had to say about how we are supposed to live in a world that will be hostile to His teachings.
I pray that as we have laughed when we could about the rough year, we would deep in our souls recognize that our eyes have been opened to the injustices of this world to so many. I pray that we would cling, not to our political parties, our wealth, our rights…but to the Cross of Jesus Christ.
I pray that we would walk away from 2020, in our sweat pants and masks, with a renewed love for Him and for an increased understanding that this world will pass away. I pray that we would daily remember we are a tiny dot on the grand scheme of time and we have only been given today to share the Gospel that saved our sorry souls. l pray that we will pour our time, thought, energy, gifts and resources in 2021 into furthering His Kingdom that is built through us but whose foundation is the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.
I pray for you and for me, to live with purposeful and intentional actions, the Good News every day in 2021.
God bless you and yours. You are loved more than you could ever know