Pastor’s Pen December 2020

Dear Siblings in Christ,

It’s Advent!  Yes, already.  And yes, there will be Advent Prayer services!  They will be online this year.  Rosanne will record this brief liturgy and they will be broadcast on 2, 9, 16, and 23 December at Noon.  Folks without Facebook or YouTube will receive the information by mail.  I invite everyone to set aside the time to watch and pray and prepare for our celebration of Christmas.  Our Christmas celebration, like everything else since March this year, will be different.  Denise and the musicians and I are working on making it as special as possible given the pandemic.

Speaking of the pandemic, people across the country and around the world are struggling.  It’s called Covid fatigue or pandemic fatigue.  Not only is our physical health in peril, but for many their mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well.  And so I pray, “O God, give me the words to comfort your people, to ease their fear, to lift their spirit, and to help them see you are still with us.”  Come Lord Jesus, we cry every Advent, but especially this year.

Last month I encouraged you to give thanks every day for something, even if small.  I trust you are still doing that.  It will help with Covid fatigue.  And now I invite you to add these verses of Abide with Me to your daily prayer.  It was written by Henry Lyte who was left an orphan at the age of nine and was taken in by a kind Irish minister named Dr. Robert Borrows.  Henry followed in Dr. Borrows footsteps and attended Trinity College in Dublin, where he won prizes and scholarships for poetry.  Henry graduated in 1814 and was ordained in the Church of England. He became ill with tuberculosis and was not expected to live much longer. At the age of 45, Henry prepared a farewell speech for the morning of September 4, 1847 which included the lyrics of Abide With Me. Henry Lyte passed away 10 weeks after preaching his farewell sermon. The opening line brings to mind Luke 24.29.

Abide with me, fast falls the eventide.

The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide.

When other helpers fail and comforts flee,

help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

I need thy presence ev’ry passing hour;

what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?

Who like thyself my guide and stay can be?

Through cloud and sunshine, oh, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;

ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.

Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?

I triumph still, if thou abide with me!

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes,

shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;

heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;

in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Christ does abide with you!  God’s peace be with you this Advent.

Your partner in the Gospel,

Pastor Elaine

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