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“The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”

Luke 1:30-31

March 8, 2020 was the last time we worshiped as a gathered faith community in the sanctuary of our church. That was nine months ago and we continue to hear about, experience and lament the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Nine months…the time it takes to conceive and give birth to a baby. When the angel Gabriel told Mary that she was going to give birth to a son and she was to name him Jesus, I wonder if she had any idea how her life and the life of the world would change nine months later.

The name Jesus comes from the personal name for God in Hebrew which is ‘Yahweh,’ which means ‘to save,’ or ‘to deliver.’ So, Jesus’ name means Savior, Rescuer, Restorer, and Deliverer. Jesus came as Emmanuel, which means ‘God with us,’ to save, to deliver and to give hope to the people. And as Christians, we are called to follow Jesus and model our lives after Jesus.

So, how do we face all the pain, grief, disappointment, frustration and challenge of all that is going on in our pandemic world? We face it with hope because of Jesus the Christ. In business we often hear that hope is not a strategy. Yet, in our faith, we know that there is always hope and that hope is the cornerstone of our faith in Christ.

When our gathering for worship and ministry stopped nine months ago, the church as the body of Christ conceived of new and innovative ways to share worship and ministry. Nine months later, new birth and new life can be seen in how we continue to reach out beyond ourselves and share life and ministry together.

If you have not had a chance to view our Litany of Gratitude for 2020 that we shared at our Church Conference last week, click here to view the ways we are experiencing new birth as a faith community.