A message from Lara and Josh
Dear Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church,
Yesterday I saw a video of health care workers dancing in line to get the new COVID Vaccine. I started crying. Yes, I’m bursting with pregnancy hormones but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a wave of hope and relief at seeing these images. After months of sitting in the darkness of upheaval, fear, sacrifice, and loss, a new day just might actually be dawning. Sure there are months to go before the majority of the population will be vaccinated; months before we can pack up all of our masks and extra bottles of hand sanitizer. But still, after all we have been through, having something to truly hope for feels like seeing first light after a dark and treacherous night.
It is this feeling of dawn that I am meditating on as we approach Christmas this year. Scripture often speaks of the spiritual significance of the dawn.
“Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth” – Isaiah 58:8
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” – Isaiah 60:1
“Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5
“The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” – Romans 13:12
“On the other hand, I am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining.” – 1 John 2:8
Reading these verses after 10 months of pandemic causes me to see the concept of salvation in a more intimate way. I now understand that I cannot save myself, that I need rescuing, that this salvation is my first need above all others. Like the disciples certain that their boat was sinking on a stormy night, I find myself crying out, “Lord, save me!”
What we learn in scripture is that saving us is God’s top priority. God stops at nothing to save God’s beloved people from their brokenness, sin, and suffering. For the arrival of the vaccine, God is working through thousands of people: doctors, scientists, bureaucrats, truck drivers, factory workers, hospital administrators, business people, pharmacists, and more. This Advent, we have been waiting for a light. As Christmas approaches, we now see the light dawning in a very real way.
Yet while our bodies see the dawning of salvation from this pandemic, let us allow the lessons of this season to sink into us spiritually. Someday concepts like social distancing, aerosols, and viral loads will fade into our memory but the wounds of sin and suffering will remain. Our social fabric will still need mending, the wound of racism will still need tending, and our lives will still need the never-ending grace of God. Ultimately, Jesus is our salvation. He is the light of the world, the one who shines in the darkness, and our brokenness, sin, and suffering cannot overcome it.
May you and your family dance this Christmas at the dawning of a new day and place your hope in the light of Jesus Christ who saves us in body and spirit.
In the warmth of Christ’s light,
Pastors Lara and Josh