Our HEarts are Open
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A message from our pastor
July 1, 2020
Dear Church Family and Friends,
It’s been far too long since I have communicated with you beyond Sunday morning worship. And so very long since I have seen many of you. I miss you. I hope you are well as we navigate what some call our new normal.
I am thankful for the technology which has permitted some of us to stay connected through our weekly worship services, session, deacon and committee meetings, and via Thursday Zoom fellowship time. However, some of you could not connect with us that way. I cannot imagine the separation and isolation you must have, or even continue to be feeling.
I want to offer to you the chance for a visit from me. I ask that it be outside on your porch or under a cozy shade tree in an area we can maintain at least six feet of separation from each other. If you are comfortable with that type of arrangement and you’d like to set up a time, call the office for my cell phone number. You may also use that number if you just want to chat via phone.
As I think about these long months, and how much life changed for all of us, I am reminded of this prayer from the prophet Habakkuk and offer it to you, as well as some thoughts from the referenced author. My words are in brackets.
2O Lord, I have heard of your renown, and I stand in awe, O Lord, of your work. In our own time revive it; in our own time make it known; in wrath may you remember mercy...
17 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
Habakkuk was part of the remnant of Israel who remained faithful to the Lord. This prophet knew that God's chosen nation had wandered far from [God] and had fallen deep into apostasy and idolatry... and this prophet of God wanted them to return to the Lord... and yet it seemed that God was turning a blind eye to their spiritual adultery. How long, he mourned, before the wicked go unpunished?... Habakkuk could not understand how God could use such an evil and treacherous nation to punish His people Israel, whose sins did not seem to be so great by comparison. Yet, Habbakuk was able to trust the Lord to keep His promises... and was able to pray with surety...
As God's people we have, in many respects, become corrupt. We have compromised the truth of God's righteous word by accepting unrighteous laws into our midst without challenge. [We too often keep silent about the injustices flooding our nation. And then there is this virus that just won’t go away and we do wonder, “O Lord, how long?”]
...Habakkuk ,when he realized the depth to which Israel had fallen [prayed] - 'though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines.. though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food.. though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls.. YET I will exult in the LORD.. yet I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.. for the Lord my God is my strength.
My prayer for you, our church, our community and our nation remains fast, that we will stay strong, and rely fully on the strength which comes only from our Lord. And yes, I also sometimes wonder, “O Lord, how long?”, and then I try in those moments to take a deep breath, breathing in the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, and try to breathe out then the doubts which fill my mind. The Lord is our strength. And may that strength comfort until we gather again.
Blessings and peace,
ROBINSON ELMWOOD UNITED CHURCH
126 South Terry Road, Syracuse, NY 13219
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