The Grapes of Wrath is one of my favorite novels and I often think on Ma Joad and her relentless pursuit of keeping the “fambly” together through all of their challenges, despair and life moments. As we enter 2021, Ma Joad is coming to my mind again. I think we’d do well to catch some of her tenacity, and keep up the hard work of maintaining our unity as a church family during a global pandemic as we begin this new year....together.
There are many ways we’re fighting isolation as a church family: our Bible Studies, our C-Groups, Youth Groups, children’s Bible verse memory challenges, single women’s meetings and our varied worship offerings. Then there are the texts, phone calls and cards that are going out. But one thing is for sure--it takes work. It’s harder to connect. If you are struggling in any way, please let the church know.
One opportunity I’d like to highlight is our Together in Prayer group that meets via Zoom on Wednesdays 7-8pm. The group is mostly populated by those of us with older kids or empty-nesters, but all are welcome! It’s pretty simple--we say hello, we go to prayer, we chat a bit and say goodbye. Some people pray out loud, some stay on mute with the video off the whole time. But in that way we go before God in prayer together, and you are invited. Use this form to get the Zoom link.
Learning to pray is a journey for me. I’ve been surrounded by people who pray my whole life; I’ve had many, many people pray for me and my family (thanks be to God!!); I’ve talked about prayer and have prayed for others. But I’ve mostly felt guilty, inept and as if I wasn’t doing nearly enough. (rightly so!) I do not know the ways of Jesus going off by himself to spend time with his Father in the midst of his chaos. But I can testify that the Holy Spirit has been drawing me more and more into prayer, and teaching me to just do the next thing. And what I’ve seen is that He does work through our prayers. He likes to do that. Things start to move, and I can see it. It’s usually pretty quiet, but sometimes his presence is loud and without a doubt. (It feels to me as if we’re helping him in the kitchen--he could do his will much more easily without us, but he invites us in to use us and to train us.) I notice also that after a while I might change a longtime prayer over a situation to be more in line with God’s heart. This little app has been helpful to me: prayminder.com. It sends prayer prompts throughout the day. If you’re looking for something like that, I recommend it. Also remember our weekly prayer email. You can contact the church office to be added to the list to receive it if you don't already.
Noting big life events is an important way for the “fambly” to live together. We have had many entries for our family Bible this past year: births, adoptions and the dear ones who have died. Praying over these families would be a great way to live together with them.
This Sunday we celebrate Epiphany--the light of Christ going out to all the world. Pastor Addison will open Luke 2:10 with us; we’ll celebrate the Lord’s Supper; we’ll hear an Epiphany testimony. Let’s look for the ways God is drawing us together into himself through these things so we can move into 2021 and welcome others into our family. May we "fear not and behold the good news of great joy that is for all the people" this Epiphany Sunday.