In the dramatic ending to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as everything is falling apart for the resistance, a messenger delivers a transmission to Princess Leia, asking, “What is it they’ve sent us?” And Carrie Fisher’s character replies with one word: “Hope.”
Hope is something we desperately need in times of crisis, like public pandemics, political and cultural change, and personal problems. Many had hoped that our county would be moved into at least the red tier this week, especially with our dropping 4% positive case rate, which would lower restrictions on indoor dining and in-person classrooms for schools, among other things. (We would have to reach the orange tier to allow 50% capacity for regular indoor worship, which we need to make that move). But the tier change didn’t happen yet, causing much disappointment and even anger among some in our community already beset with frustration.
But our hope is not in California policies or any outward circumstance, our hope is in the Lord! This is what allowed King David to sing, even under pressure from his enemies, “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:5). This is a running theme throughout the Psalms and throughout the Bible. In the New Testament, the apostle Paul, no stranger to troubles, writes his disciple Timothy, “That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10).
Last month I asked for HELP! This month there is reason for HOPE! I asked for help with our offerings, which increased, reducing our YTD deficit from -$26,000 to -$7242. I asked for help with our attendance, which increased in February to the highest month on record since we resumed worshiping in person last year, with more than 300 worshipers every week, and 377 last Sunday, the most yet (with 2 baptisms and 2 children dedicated). I asked for help with volunteering through our Service Surveys, and we received 63 responses and have already begun plugging in new volunteers as greeters, baptistry helpers, livestream techs, and many other areas. THANK YOU for all your response!
Here are some other reasons for hope and praise:
- Livestreaming our services now allows those who cannot attend to join us for the entire service, with either traditional or contemporary worship.
- Child Dedication Sunday is coming March 14, an opportunity for all parents to come up and dedicate their children to the Lord, who loves children.
- Easter Services are right around the corner, when we will be able to celebrate the events surrounding Palm Sunday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, something we were not able to do together last year.
- Staff additions have been made to fill openings after Carolyn retired in December. We welcome Jan Kiehl as our Office Manager, and Toni Sandoval as our Office Assistant/Discipleship Assistant. They both have the heart and the experience to make a great addition to our church staff.
Next time you are tempted to despair, read Psalm 25 and say (or sing): My hope is in You, Lord!
Mike Openshaw, Senior Minister