The Pastor’s Peace™
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Brian for your reflection and consideration, published monthly during the year, available in our printed Beaver Church Chatter newsletter and on our web site.
I remember at the end of 2019 I said many times, “Well, thank God, that year is over; 2020 has to be better.” It would make sense for me to say that, being what happened locally in 2019. We had 21 tornadoes in a day, a mass shooting, and a KKK rally in downtown Dayton, just to name a few things. It was the most challenging year I had experienced while living in Dayton. Of course, if I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have said a thing. Who knew that 2020 would be so difficult? I can tell you I certainly won’t be saying that 2021 has to be better than 2020.
That is the uncertainty of the future; however, we never know for sure what will happen in our lives locally or around the world. This means, of course, that there is always potential for hurt and heartache each and every day we wake up. That said, there is also the potential for joy and happiness. Despite the impact of the pandemic, I can say that there have been good things and blessings in my life this year. There have been blessings in the lives of others, I know as well. Uncertainty can bring challenges, but it can also bring an end to difficulties. This is, of course, where hope comes in. We hope in the end that the future brings more good than bad, and that over time the world works towards a brighter future.
Even though we do always experience a level of uncertainty, one thing our faith teaches us is that there are constants we can hold onto. The constants of God’s love and salvation through Christ remain no matter what the future holds. This faith is something that helps me to hope, and helps me through the most difficult times. I know that no matter what, nothing can separate me from God’s love, and my faith informs me that I will be together with those whom I love that are no longer with me. No pandemic, no local tragedy, no setback in my life will change this.
I do not know what 2021 will bring to our world; I won’t even hazard a guess. What I do know is that we will be together as a faith community with God. I know our care for one another won’t change, and I know that doing the good work of Christ will help move us closer to God’s Kingdom on earth, no matter the circumstances. So, to all of you reading this, I wish you the very best of everything in this new year, and even though we don’t know if all we hope for will happen or not, know that you do not hope alone, for we as the body of Christ, and God will always be with you.
Peace, Blessings, and Happy New Year!
The repair project for the sanctuary is in full swing. By the time you read this the contractors should have already finished taking down all of the old trusses and have the new ones installed. Things have mainly gone as planned, but of course all things have surprises here and there. We had a bit of a delay in getting the final truss design approved, and there has been a little bit of bad weather, but overall things are progressing well, and we should be able to catch up and be on schedule if things continue that way.
With a large project like this, however, you never know how things will go. In fact, we still don’t with the trussing project until it is all said and done. There is always the possibility that something won’t go quite as planned, but you try your best, work hard, and eventually you will succeed. In some ways I feel this is true of the pandemic we have been facing as well. It certainly has been a long, difficult, and painful experience. There have been many ups and downs, and it has often seemed like we were making no progress at all. Now that the vaccines have started to be distributed, I am hoping that we will see some real progress, and that the hard work we have put in will result in us having lost fewer people overall when this is all said and done.
There are, of course, many things like this that we have faced as a people or even as individuals. Difficult times and tasks are not as rare as we would like them to be. I feel that in times like these it is important to know that you are not alone, and to have hope for a better future. This is why it is so important that we continue to check in with each other and make sure we are ok. This is why it is important to have a faith life, knowing that God is with you and cares for you no matter what the outcome is. I know that it is easy to feel down, and this past month I have had several difficulties, personal and professional, that have weighed on me. So, it is to God that I have turned, and when I have taken the time to pray to God and lay down my burdens before my savior, it truly has brought me a sense of peace.
If you find yourself struggling emotionally or otherwise, please reach out. Reach out to me or to other members of the church. Reach out to God through prayer and know that God loves you. Know that you are not alone, and that there are many people in this church and in this world that care for you. This is a difficult time for all of us but we take it one day at a time. If we work and strive for a better future, then I have faith that with God’s help we will be in a better place at some future point, together, with our love for each other and God’s light guiding us ever onward.
Peace and Blessings,
We are wrapping up the construction project for the church. As I am writing this, they are finishing up the painting and soon the final electric and carpeting will begin. Things, knock on wood, have gone very well so far and the project has proceeded on-time and on-budget. We have also had the blessing of receiving a few more donations, such that we have reached the goal of paying for the project completely. Any further donations we receive towards the project will be placed in our maintenance fund, which was depleted to help pay for the trussing project. The maintenance fund is what we use to do repairs when they are needed at the church.
So, we’ll be able to meet indoors without worrying about the roof falling on our heads, quite the improvement. I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is, when are we going to meet again indoors? Even though there is no longer the threat of a falling roof, there is still the threat of the pandemic, which has become a serious danger and concern for everyone. With this in mind the consistory has decided that we are going to give a little extra time to finish the work in the sanctuary as well as a bit more time for the vaccine rollout. We are looking at tentatively opening for indoor services on the first Sunday in May. We would continue to have the 9:00 drive-in service for those that wished to participate in that, and the 10:30am indoor service would continue to be live broadcast over Facebook Live. The indoor service itself would need to be done a bit differently for safety concerns. At first this will include, encouraged vaccination, socially distant groups, required masks, no passing the peace, and no singing. Obviously, at some point we would add things back once the threat decreased enough.
This has been a very tough decision and process for the consistory and myself. There are those I’m sure that feel that we could meet sooner, or don’t need all of the precautions during the service. There are also those who feel that this would be too soon and that we should wait longer. Ultimately the desire to come together and worship in person has to be balanced with the safety of the congregation. We cannot knowingly create an overly unsafe and potentially deadly environment. Doing so would go directly against God’s command that we love and care for each other.
In keeping with such safety concerns, the consistory has decided that our ability to meet together indoors will also be dependent on Ohio’s county threat level system. As I write this Montgomery and Greene county are currently at threat level 3 of 4. To meet in person, we would need to be at a minimum threat level 2 for both of these counties and preferably at threat level 1. The main factor that will decrease the threat level is the average number of cases per day over 2 weeks.
My hope is that this number will continue to decrease over the next several months. Of course, once we start meeting again there is the possibility that there would be an increase in cases that would again increase the threat level. If this increased threat level was sustained, we would likely need to pause services again. Please continue to keep everyone in your prayers during the pandemic, and pray that we can continue in the right direction to lower infections and save lives. God is with us in this, and with faith and acting in ways we know are responsible, we will all work towards a brighter future.
Peace and Blessings,
The Pastor's Peace Archive™
Read Pastor Brian's thoughts from past years.
The Pastor’s Sermon™
Listen to Pastor Brian's sermons, when available, recorded during Morning Worship and other special worship services.
The Pastor's Sermon Archive™
Listen to Pastor Brian’s sermons from past years.
The Pastor's Peace™ and The Pastor's Sermon™ are ©2021 by The Beaver United Church of Christ and Pastor Brian Eastman. If you wish to copy or reproduce any content from the Beaver United Church of Christ web site, please contact Pastor Brian Eastman.