Rector's Msg.

God said, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, my great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-27
NRSV


As I sit down to write this article, I am struck by how quickly times have changed and how similar these times seem to those in Scripture. Less than a week ago we were planning for a largely normal Sunday service, and then everything changed. By the time you receive this newsletter I am not sure precisely what will be going on in our world and our community. I must admit that adapting to this new way of doing ministry has been very complicated for me, familiar patterns have been disrupted and I think it is fair to express that this is hard and disorienting for everyone. This is on top of anxieties about the little things like toilet paper and the big things like death. All that is going on in our lives leaves me yearning for some hope from God.


In the passage at the top of the page there is hope in the form of a promise. The promise is that God is going to restore the years that the locust has eaten. During the time of Joel there had been plagues of locusts and droughts, which had swept through Israel and caused immense hardship. These locusts had disrupted their lives and led to famine and yet here, God is promising that He will restore what the locusts have eaten. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame.” God’s promise to His people is that they will be restored. He would take their years of sorrow and give them years of joy. The core of the Christian message is one of redemption.


In the New Testament the same principle is stated like this, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Nothing is wasted in God and all things, even the hard things, in God’s economy are used for our blessing. These words are a comfort for us who are walking through hard times. These times are not some form of meaningless suffering, but rather in the Lord we are being transformed during these events. Ultimately, this is the message of the Gospel, God taking our brokenness and using it to draw us to Him and be set free.


We are here on what feels like the leading edge of difficult times. We can take heart that we have a God who is with us in the midst of the difficulty and who restores the years the locust has eaten, so that, “you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel: I am the Lord your God and there is no other. My people shall never be put to shame.” Let us put our faith in Him and hold fast to one another.

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In Christ,

~Seth~