News from the Executive Presbyter/Stated Clerk
Thanksgiving is Thursday, November 26, about three weeks away. And, as is the case many years, the first Sunday in Advent falls on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t know about you, but with the ongoing pandemic, now in its ninth month (for us), these times and seasons seem to be sneaking up on me this year. Perhaps it is because I have not travelled outside of Florida since last Christmas, to get a reminder of what season it is elsewhere!
This will be a different Thanksgiving season for many of us. Family gatherings may not be as large as in the past as COVD-19 seems to be making a resurgence. We need to exercise caution so as to not allow family or church gatherings to become “super spreader” events. As it is, the recent uptick in positive coronavirus cases has shown a median age of 30, meaning half of those contracting COVID-19 are under that age. We need to remain vigilant in our procedures to prevent the spread of the virus.
This circumstance caused me to think of the experience of the Apostle Paul, who wrote about his struggles in 2 Corinthians.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies ... Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So we do not lose heart. (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 15, 16 NRSV)
Doesn’t that speak to our current context in a different way than it perhaps has before? We face challenges in many ways that are often perplexing. Perhaps the biggest challenge is to have the same mind as Paul: not crushed, not driven to despair, not feeling forsaken, but increasing in thanksgiving and not losing heart.
Perhaps we will just have to work a little harder at being thankful this year.
From a presbytery perspective, I am thankful that:
But for now, Happy Thanksgiving 2020!
Executive Presbyter / Stated Clerk
Rev. Dr. Dan Williams