From the Pastor

Dear friends,

Yesterday evening while scrolling my Facebook feed on January 7th, I came across a friend’s post of a meme. I laughed when I read it. I thought I would share it with you. The meme said, “I’d like to cancel my subscription to 2021. I’ve experienced the free 7-day trial and I’m not interested.” After one day my friend’s post had garnered over a hundred reactions (mostly “likes” and “haha’s”) and a few comments. One person commented, “2020 finished its bragging, and over in the corner, 2021 stood up and said, “Hold my beer.”

Humor is one way we can attempt to deal with difficult circumstances. Laughter can provide relief. Humor can also unveil and unmask that which we may not want to see. Some have said that stand-up or late-night comics are the prophets of today. My friend’s post points to the reality that the turning of the calendar from 2020 to 2021 is not going to magically change the historical realities we are living through in these days. The pandemic continues to spread throughout our communities. The daily death count continues to increase. Civil unrest, falsehoods, competing truth narratives, and fear continue to be stoked by various powers and principalities. As Jesus’ followers how shall we live in times like these?

As Jesus’ followers we look to God’s Word for direction. It just so happens that Mark’s Gospel is the focus of the Gospel readings in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) this year. The RCL is a way of reading through the Bible over a three-year period in many Christian churches. Mark’s Gospel was written during a tumultuous time, probably between 68-72 CE, just as the Jewish revolt against Rome’s rule was coming to a violent and devastating end. Mark’s Gospel told the story of Jesus to address the questions of that chaotic time. The questions we face now are like the questions they faced then. Questions such as should Jesus’ followers take up a rebellious cause to overthrow a government viewed as illegitimate? Or does faithfulness to Christ means we get in line and keep our church commitments separate from our civic obligations?

Mark’s Gospel rejects both of those options and calls his readers to faithfully follow Christ. Mark invites his readers to open their eyes and ears so that they can detect the false promises, claims and values of their age. This Sunday we will begin our journey into the Gospel of Mark, which begins with Jesus’ baptism (1:1-11). As we journey through Mark, I believe we will encounter the hope of the Good News, the Solid Rock upon which we can stand, for all other ground is sinking sand.

See you on zoom worship on Sunday,

Pastor David

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