A New Year
I was talking to a relative in another state recently. He said he was past ready for a change in current events. He put it this way: “It’s been years since I have stayed up to welcome in the new year, but I’m going to this time around to make sure 2020 goes away!” I suspect most people share his sentiment.
2020 was certainly a year of challenges. It began with a pandemic with all its medical, economic, and political ramifications, then progressed to widespread social unrest, then concluded with a most contentious election.
While none of us would choose to relive last year, I hope we viewed it through the eyes of Scripture. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4).
How did you fare spiritually? Some Christians who were already weak evidently died during the time we had to cancel worship assemblies. Some got too comfortable watching sermon videos on their own schedule instead of assembling; they increasingly regard worship like online shopping versus going to the store. In a few places brethren got at odds over masking or other recommended safety measures. On the other hand, others grew during this period. They initiated better family Bible studies than they had been doing. They got more active in reaching out to brethren in order to lend help and encouragement. They now better appreciate the blessing of worshiping together.
2020 was especially challenging for our elders. Do we cancel services? What can we do to provide edification while we cannot meet? When should we resume meeting? How can we do that safely? What about Bible classes? How do we stay attuned to each member’s situation during such times? How do we balance conflicting perspectives on these questions?
Most at Viking Drive deserve commendation for your response to these challenges. You have been cooperative about masking and seating, regardless of your personal views. You have been supportive of those directly affected by the virus. Your ongoing contributions during the time we could not assemble enabled us to continue to meet our financial commitments.
COVID-19, social discontent, and political division are all still intact as we begin the new year. I trust that our faith is too, and that we will meet whatever challenges this year holds with love, unity, humility, self-control, steadfastness, and confidence in God—things that characterize disciples of Jesus Christ.