Pastor’s Message for February

Things are changing. We are quickly changing from Epiphany to Lent. In the Epiphany season, Jesus manifests himself as the Son of God, which reaches a climax on the Mount of Transfiguration. There he showed his disciples his great glory as he was transformed before their very eyes.  When they saw him in his glory, they wanted to construct tents and stay up on the mountain, but Jesus came down from the mountain to continue his ministry by suffering and dying on the cross.  During Lent we focus in on his passion. This year the theme is “Hands of the Passion.” Look at the last page of this newsletter for the series that we are following.

There is change in the pandemic.  There is a ray of light at the end of the tunnel as we have a vaccine that is being used to battle Covid-19. As more and more people get vaccinated, Covid-19 infections should become less and less common. It will take some time, but we should be able to gather in groups at sporting events and eat in restaurants in the future.

During the past year, there have been a lot of changes with Covid-19.  We talk about the new normal. Mask wearing and social distancing have become common occurrences. We avoid crowds and don’t go to restaurants and bars. Today, the virus has completely reshaped the way we view the world and interact with one another. The pandemic has wrought a good deal of social unrest and economic havoc too. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, and there’s a strong possibility many of those jobs won’t immediately return once the crisis is over.

There is a change in the administration as President Biden has replaced President Trump. For some people it is a welcome change, but for others it is not. President Biden has already made many changes with his executive orders. Only time will tell what other changes he will bring to our country.

We are preparing for a change in our ministry here at St. John’s. As my retirement draws closer, you are preparing to call a new pastor. There will be a number of meetings as the congregation prepares for this change. The first big meeting will take place on a Sunday after church to discuss the future needs of the congregation. The date will be announced shortly.

Change is never easy. The older that I get, the more I dislike change. It is nice when things just continue the way that they are. One thing never changes, and that is God. In James 1:17 we are told, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Shadows change throughout the day. When the sun is low, the shadows are longer. When the sun is overhead, the shadows are much smaller. They change throughout the day. Our heavenly Father doesn’t change. He continues to give us every good thing that we need. Jesus also never changes.

In Hebrews 13:8 we are assured that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” His attributes do not fluctuate with the tides or seasons. His plans and nature do not rise and fall like the Dow Jones Industrial Average. He never changes. He is never surprised by anything. He never needs to recalculate or re-strategize in the face of unexpected losses or developments. Come what may, His plans will proceed unfrustrated and His counsel will stand unchallenged. You and I are all too often like a leaf on the wind, blown hither and thither by the shifting winds of change. But our God is like bedrock. He is unyielding, immovable, firm, dependable and constant.