14 Dec From the Pastor’s Desk (or Car?!)
As you read this, I am likely somewhere on Interstate 81 or 40, heading down through Virginia and across Tennessee on my way to spend a couple of weeks in Arkansas with my mother. Like so many people around the country, she has spent most of the last nine months alone, and she is looking forward to some company. We’ve complied with all the appropriate guidelines so that we can create a “pod of two” over Christmas, and my brother will pop in briefly on Christmas Day for a socially-distanced, masked visit. Yeesh! Whoever imagined those words would ever be strung together to form a readily comprehensible sentence?!! Oh, the times…how they have changed us in 2020.
Though I will not be physically in Virginia, I will conclude our Advent sermon series, The Miracle of Christmas on the 20th as we look at The Miracle of the Manger. On December 27, you are in for a real treat as Rev. John Molina-Moore, the Executive Presbyter of National Capital Presbytery and Rev. Tara Spuhler McCabe, NCP’s Transitional Director of Congregational Development and Mission will be preaching. Calvary will be one of dozens of churches throughout our presbytery who will hear the same message that day, and with the miracle of technology, I will be the liturgist! Then on January 3rd, a dear friend of mine, Rev. Carrie Yearick, will be in the Calvary sanctuary with our regular team of musicians and worship leaders to share an Epiphany Word with us. It is not overstating the facts to say that I would not be an ordained minister without the guidance, support, and encouragement Carrie has given me through the years. She has remained a loyal friend for two decades, and I am delighted that she will be leading us in worship. (As always, watch for the links to all these services in the e-letters.)
I will return to the office on January 4th, ready to “hit the ground running” as we prepare to ordain and install Elders on January 10. We are still working out the logistics of how to do this in a safe, socially-distanced way that will show up on our itty-bitty camera! As with all things Covid-related, nothing is easy! We have come a long, long way in learning to adapt and be flexible, and I have no doubt this will be just one more item on our long list of “pandemic firsts.”
Although I can’t honestly say I am looking forward to the entire 1000 miles of solo driving, I will enjoy the first couple hundred miles or so. That is when I will settle into the silence and the dark and will begin to decompress. I will think about the week just finished and the entire Advent season, making mental notes about what I’ve heard and learned. I may or may not think much more about 2020! The admonition not to “beat a dead horse” comes to mind. ? I will likely begin to think and dream about the year in front of us, so full of promise and the very real hope that we will be together again for worship and prayer, fellowship and mission. O, Lord, let it be so!
I will have lots of time for prayer in the car, so please know that I will be saying a word of thanks and gratitude for you, Calvary. In this unprecedented year, you have persevered and endured. You have remained faithful and caring. You have continued to serve and reach out. You have been the Body of Christ in the world. And for that, I am profoundly grateful. God is still at work in us and through us, and as the Apostle Paul so eloquently said, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).
Merry, merry Christmas,