Grace and peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Like so many of you, I have been deeply saddened by the events of the last twenty-four hours. Violence is always objectionable, but an attack on the core of our very way of life is beyond disheartening. I hope that you will join me in praying for our nation in the days and weeks ahead as we look to God for both healing and guidance.

It is remarkable that we are only seven days into 2021 and things are already so conspicuously veering off any sort of normal course. We were all setting our hopes that we might find some rest in this new year and many are now feeling that their dreams have been dashed against the rocks. And yet, I have no doubt that God is still right here with us, hard at work in our midst.

One of my favorite mentors often reminded me of her favorite passage: we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28). I would suggest that calling falls on all of us. I am thoroughly convinced that God is among us, stirring up a ferment the likes of which we can hardly imagine, to bring wonders we can scarcely dream of. It is understandable to have fear, but do not hold onto it too tightly.

God is here. God is working. God is doing the unimaginable even now.

One last thought for today, and it is one I always harken back to whenever I or any of us face times of trouble. My grandmother Lillie, a woman of faith like few others I have known, used to remind me of this whenever I was facing tribulation in my life: “It is always darkest just before the dawn. Lift up your eyes.”

So, I leave you with my favorite psalm this day, Psalm 121. May it bring you comfort and peace, even in the midst of all we may face in the chaotic world around us…

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.

Blessings, Pastor Janie

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