From the August Newsletter
As we begin the summer and enter the second half of 2020, it is natural to look back on the first half of the year. Of course, the first half of this year is unlike any that have come before it (at least in my time).
Pandemics and protests fill our news feeds. Uncertainty, change, and division seem to dominate the conversation. And those are only the last four months. Does anyone even remember what happened in January or February of this year?
I don't know about you, but all of this has left me tired. I am exhausted from all the noise that seems impenetrable when I seek out truth. I am exhausted from people shouting at each other; no one listening to their neighbor. And I am just plain tired from trying to hold onto hope.
There are many who would tell you that hope is all we have now. And we must hold onto it. We must reach out and grab it, using all the strength we have left. If we lose hope now, what do we have left?
Yet it seems that 2020 is just too big. That all of the issues are just too cumbersome to hold. This year has brought with it baggage and burdens, recognitions and realizations, that fill our heads and our hearts, leaving little room to clutch onto hope in our own strength. It seems there is just too much to hold onto. But I am going to let you in on a secret. You don't have to do this alone. You don't have to hold onto hope by yourself.
There are many pictures of the church given to us in the Scriptures. We are called a Royal Priesthood and a Holy Nation (I Peter 2:9). The church is compared to a family (I Peter 2:17) and a building that becomes the Temple of our God (Ephesians 2:20-22). My personal favorite illustration is the church as a Body (Romans 12).
Families and Nations, even buildings are made of individual parts, yet we often see them as a single unit. Whereas, with the body the idea of many parts working together is easier to hold onto. Paul reminds us in the book of Romans that Eyes that try and hear and Ears that try and smell are foolish and useless. It is only when everyone works as they were designed does the body function.
Hope is large and unwieldly. Hope is too big for just one person. This is always been true, but maybe now amid the chaos we can see this clearly.
However, we do need hope. The secret is you don’t have to hold it yourself. I will hold it with you. If need be your church family will hold it with you. There maybe some who need hope to be held for them. That is why we are here. You are not expected to do everything yourself. You are not expected to hold everything yourself.
Let the body of Christ be your hands. Let the body of Christ be your hope.
Pastor Jesse Letourneau
Salem UCC, Westphalia, IN