Reasons to Celebrate
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal. But God’s word is not chained. Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory.” (2 Timothy 2:9).
Dear friends. The year 2020 was not the best, I believe, for everyone. We were confined at home, not travelling, not even seeing family and friends. Church doors closed, and no other alternative to see people face to face. It sounds very bleak and pessimistic, but this is precisely what happened last year, and worse than that, it continues so far.
However, we, God’s people, have reasons to be grateful and hopeful.
First of all, we celebrate the fact that, as Paul said, “God’s word is not chained”. Unlike the apostle who was in prison because of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the message of salvation and transformation saw no limits. There were no boundaries that would prevent or stop the word of God from achieving its purpose, from doing the mission. We see it in history when even under attack and persecution, God’s message always reaches out to people’s hearts. It’s not different today. Despite the virus, the pandemics, lockdown and all restrictions, the Spirit of God is even more present. The word is alive, and the message of reconciliation doesn’t need to obey any regulation. So we celebrate because the word of life is not confined.
In the second place, we, as a Church, have been participants in this spreading of God’s word. We’ve been partners with God, not only over the last one hundred plus years in Dingwall but much more now, as we are telling the world that Jesus is Lord. Yes, the Church might be closed, but we continue God’s project. From March to December last year, we produced 60 online services! Isn’t it amazing? And because it’s an online message, the Internet enables us to cross boundaries and go far away in this world. Not only that, but members of the Church are involved and active in these videos. So we celebrate.
Third, this pandemic is not the end of the world. It’s not an angry God punishing us. It is instead an opportunity to make the name of God great in this world. It’s an opportunity to serve the vulnerable, the weak and the lonely in the name of Jesus Christ. It’s the opportunity to put in practice what we have learned inside the Church, the love of God, compassion and mercy. The pandemic is not a good thing, but it moves us to show that God’s people care for humanity and the world. For this reason, we too celebrate and give thanks to God.
As you can see, we are thankful to God despite all problems around us since March 2020. However, the restrictions make us feel alone, not having the opportunity to see family, friends, or travel. The Apostle Paul was in prison. However difficult it might have been, the most important thing for him was that the word of God was out there, in peoples’ ears and hearts. Some of our brothers and sisters feel lonely at this time, especially those who don’t have an internet connection at home. We pray for them, phone them, and try to do our best to serve them. If we work, God will undoubtedly work through us if we get involved and take the initiative.
We are willing to see each other again to celebrate our new life after the lockdown. May God gives us a better year now, but, for now, let’s live the teaching of Jesus daily.
Dingwall, winter of 2021.