I find myself continually saying, “It’s been some kind of crazy year!” only for things seemingly to become more so. Undoubtedly, it has been hard on us all in one fashion or another. Practicing physical distancing, wearing a mask, and trying to function either at work, or home, or play, or just grocery shopping has been a burden. Some of us may have lost friends or family. Much has been asked or demanded of us and such has taken its toll upon us.
St. Matthew community, to each and every one of you, I confess I am heartsick that we cannot all gather together under one roof at one time. It has been harder this time than last August as we have moved once again into Phase 2 status with limited in-person worship, limited to a soloist singing for us, limited in the number that can gather at one time. I have heard it said that we have a right to worship anyway we desire. For me, it is not so much about “rights” but rather about doing the right thing.
We have come so far. Our community of Weston and Lewis County have come so very far these past 12 months. Our state leaders have been a model in many ways for the rest of the country – especially in getting us vaccinated. Yet, at this time, the virus is growing again in the eastern panhandle and the southern coalfields. In these communities, there have been churches that have been centers of outbreak. We have a responsibility not just to ourselves but to our community to continue along the guidelines and recommendations set forth by our state government, our county health department, and our West Virginia Conference. We are weary, but trust that God will grant us the strength and courage to complete the course set before us.
As we come toward the end of our Lenten season, many of us have felt as if we have been practicing Lent for a year, and in many respects, we have. One aspect of Lent asks us intentionally to examine our walk with Jesus, and then to allow the Spirit to nurture us where we may find ourselves undernourished spiritually. This is so we may grow not only in our faith, but also in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.
Either in person, online, or Sermon by Phone, I implore each of us through worship to be a witness to the Light of Christ within us and to the world in these coming days. I implore each of us to be a witness to the Light of Christ everyday of our lives.
As followers of the Way of Jesus Christ, the Light has been present with us through this pandemic ordeal. God continues to be steadfast in God’s loving presence, mercy, grace, and forgiveness. The upcoming Palm/Passion Services, the services of Holy Week (Maundy Thursday and Good Friday), and Easter Sunrise and Morning services will all be opportunities to witness to the Light of God through our Lord Jesus. If you desire to attend, please call the office. Many, I feel, are not calling to allow space for others. This is commendable. But I will create additional services so that all who wish to worship in the sanctuary may do so.
Grace and peace,
+ Pastor Jim