Dear Beloved in Christ,
We are now halfway through 2020! This seems to be the longest year, because for us collectively, and worldwide, it’s a difficult year. For some of us it may be the most difficult year we’ve ever experienced. A global pandemic; loss of in-person worship and gathering; racial tensions as our Black siblings rightfully cry out,
“Black Lives Matter;” record unemployment; intense division amongst the people and sometimes within our own families.
Is there anything else? You could say, “yes,” because in addition to collective woes, each of us face our own personal challenges as well.
Some of these issues were here before 2020, but everything together seems to make for a heavy load. Are you tired? I confess that some days I wake up tired…or I feel like taking a nap…or I don’t really feel like doing much of anything.
But then other days are different. We go out for a walk and revel in the beauty that surrounds us. A trip to the beach gifts us with a pod of dolphins splashing in the surf. Inspections of our vegetable garden bring daily surprises, along with some very fresh and tasty produce. Watching our dogs play in the backyard is always an enjoyable activity. The socially distanced and masked encounters with friends and family bring smiles, even if we cannot see them. And, gathering with you all through Zoom is a highlight because we truly are gathered, just in a different way.
Life is not all difficult. But sometimes we need reminders of this and so I am thankful to be part of a faith tradition and faith community that is built upon the wonderful gift of God’s grace. It is through this grace that we can respond to the invitation from Jesus to go to him and receive rest. This rest, in addition to revitalizing our bodies, gives us needed salve for our souls. As I think about this rest I can feel the calmness and the love of God. These feelings then lead to a smile, to joy.
Yes, the first half of 2020 has been difficult. But in all of this we have that promised presence of our God who loves us, who is with us, and who even carries our burdens if we trust enough to hand them over.
As we start the second half of the year, let’s remember that we are all in this together and that God is indeed with us. And may that remembering help lead us to go about the work of letting others know that Jesus provides rest and a respite from the carrying of great burdens. As we know that Jesus works with and through us that burden carrying is sometimes accomplished through our helping one another. Let’s see how, together, we can help those in our part of the world find rest.
Peace in Christ to you all,
Last month we said we hoped to have in-person worship starting July 5
. Unfortunately, since then the spread of Covid-19 has worsened in Ventura County. Because of this, it is not yet safe to gather in groups. We hope and pray that with better social distancing and increased use of masks when in public, the number of cases will begin to diminish. Meanwhile we will continue to worship via Zoom.
As we are working on preparations for the return to in-person worship, we are still looking for volunteers. If you would like to help work out the logistics and evaluate what equipment and other resources we need to have a combination of in-person and Zoom worship please contact Pastor Nancy.