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My! My! My! So much has changed in the past month. Since I was pre paring for the last Forward, the hours of daylight have continued to increase (and hopefully our moods have continued to improve), temperatures are warming up and more people have been vaccinated. With the increase in vaccinations the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has shared updates and recommendations about ways we can interact with one another. There has been guidance offered for the fully vaccinated and those who are not vaccinated regarding mask-wearing, distancing, the number of people we can be around, whether this interaction should occur outdoors or if we can be indoors. Who can interact if we are indoors? Cities and states are returning to a semblance of our pre-pandemic normal; stores and gyms are increasing their capacity, and many communities of worship are contemplating or actually returning to worship in their buildings.
As we approach this season of transition in our world and in the life of the church, I am reminded of a transitional point in the life of the people of Israel. In 1 Samuel 8, we read that Samuel is getting older, so he appoints his sons as judges over Israel. Unlike Samuel, his sons are corrupt, exploitative and unjust. The elders of Israel gather together and, not only do they reject Samuel’s sons, they ask Samuel to appoint a king to lead the nation, such as all the other nations have. Clearly, none of us are looking for a king; the previous presidency seemed to be moving towards a monarchy/oligarchy and none of us were interested in seeing that happen. What is poignant to me is the leadership’s desire to be like other nations. Sometimes, we too can fall into the trap of being allured/excited by what other people are doing and neglect the value and beauty of what we already have. It has been said, the grass is always greener on the other side. A more accurate assessment is, the grass is greener where you water it.
It is my hope as we navigate the upcoming weeks and months and plan the return to in-person worship and activities that we are not like the people of Israel, who reject the loving leadership they were already receiving. God has gifted the Calvary Baptist Church of Norristown with its own unique composition of worshipers, discerning leadership and a loving witness unlike any other church in the community. I hope that we will continue to move forward in a manner that is thoughtful and reflects our distinctions. May we continue reflecting on ways that keep our entire community safe while allowing us to worship God in meaningful ways and can connect with one another in friendship and fellowship. In 3 John 1:2 we find these words, “Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” By God’s grace this is exactly what we will do.