Newsletter- September 2020

Because it is the year 2020, it seems perfectly appropriate (and almost abundantly cheesy) to open this newsletter with the expression: We are going to need 2020 vision to make it through 2020. To meet unexpected challenges we must use unexpected methods and creative new outlets to continue the work of the church. There’s no question: we need our eyes wide open to get the work done this year. The important distinction is will we have 2020 hindsight? Or 2020 foresight?

COVID-19 took a lot of things away from us, and I think we have spent a lot of time looking backwards. We used to have coffee hour inside! We used to have bible studies ONLY in person, and we would welcome new friends with a handshake and a warm smile (where you can actually see their smile). We miss the things we had, we long for them, and we ache for the days when we will have them returned to us. For those who seem stuck in a place of 2020 hindsight, let me offer a word of comfort. The present struggles are not forever. This is a hard road we have travelled, but the things we have lost will be returned to us. There will be a day when things have returned to a semblance of normal. Like the light we lose with every sunset, I promise it will return in the light of a new day. The green we lose every fall as winter comes – will return in the fresh life of Spring. Keep your chin up, and weather this storm – I promise this is not the end of the story. We will have again the things we see in the rearview mirror. 2020 hindsight.

And yet, I also have a challenge for you. Don’t slip into a despair mourning the things we have lost in the last six months. Rather let us shift our viewpoint from 2020 hindsight to 2020 foresight. Over the past few decades our church like so many others has always chosen the road commonly travelled. We go through the same motions, doing the same things every year. The problem with travelling the same road, is that a rut can form – and most churches get stuck in a rut. Always doing the same things every year as we plod along. The silver lining of 2020 is that it has forced us onto the road less travelled. We are in uncharted territory, bumping along an unfamiliar route, with companions and equipment we haven’t ever used before.

As I look forward to the upcoming fall calendar of this church – I am so tempted to slide into a rut, to let my 2020 hindsight overwhelm me as I cry out, “but this is not how we normally do it!” I have those moments, as I’m sure many of you have as well. But I have not found them to be particularly helpful moments. Rather than let hindsight overwhelm me and focus on what I would PREFER, I have decided that a more productive way to move forward would be to have 2020 foresight. Let us turn out eyes to the road in front of us. It is less travelled and thus full of new challenges, but that does not mean God cannot do a great thing in this church at this time.

Perhaps this is actually the PERFECT moment to launch a capital campaign and start upgrading our building. Perhaps bringing Sunday school to children digitally will help parents reclaim their role in teaching their children about Jesus. Bringing families closer together. Perhaps increasing the audio/video quality in our technology will enable our folks in nursing homes or those who are home bound to join us every single week, rather than at a monthly service. Perhaps the outreach we have done for small businesses and our school systems will draw our community closer together that we might better represent the kingdom of God. That Flushing might be that light on a hill, shining in the darkness.  I think perhaps some of us hoped that we could simply tread water until the flood of bad news abated and we could go back to what we have always done. But as we adjust to the reality that some of these challenges will be here for the long haul – some of these struggles will be with us for a long time yet – perhaps it’s time we stopped treading water hoping to move backwards. Perhaps it’s time we learn to swim.

Normally in the September Newsletter I am writing about our upcoming slate of classes and programs: Life Groups, Divorce Care, Grief Share, Financial Peace University, Sunday School, Youth Group, New Member Classes and much more. My promise to you in this difficult time is that those things will still happen. We are traveling the road less traveled. It’s an unfamiliar route, so things will be different- but the work of God continues. But until then I’ll see you on Sunday.
Pastor JJ

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