Pastor's Note

Pastor's Note

Reverend, Dr. Michael Coppock
"New Year, New You?"

When 2021 began, all of us had high hopes for the future. We had a vaccine for the virus. It seemed like we were starting to turn the corner in our economy. There was a wide-eyed optimism that many of us were looking forward to, but as the year moved along, reality set in. New variants became the new norm. The economy did not recover as fast. Inflation and gas prices ballooned to levels unseen in years. The optimism faded into pessimism. As we sit in the precipice of 2022, most us do not have the optimism that we shared at this time last year. We are more cautious than we were. We all sort of wonder what is around the next corner.

This kind of thinking can produce severe mental health challenges.  We can all get so bogged down in the "what if's" that we lose sight of the possibilities. This creates a vicious cycle within us that we lose our hope for tomorrow and our strength for today. The question is what to do. How does our faith help us in these times of great anxiety?

Something that I have been pondering over the last several weeks is found in the short letter Paul wrote to the Philippians. It was written in a time of great anguish for him. He was probably already in Rome to face trial and his eventual execution. Yet, he still counted everything joy. He never lost sight of the importance of his relationship with Christ and the community of faith in general. His hope came from knowing who Christ is and those who gathered to pray for him and give him strength.

As we face uncertainty going in this new year, we know that there will be unforeseen challenges ahead. We also know that the only way that we will persevere is by clinging to Christ and to one another. Our strength will be found in our bond with one another. We will not be able to face it all alone. Our identity in Christ binds us together in his love. We have the great opportunity to be in service to one another and show the love of Christ to each other with new strength and blessing.

We often make new year's resolutions this time of year to help spring board us into a positive year. We want our slogan to be "new year, new you." But perhaps the better slogan would be "new year, new us." We will not make this next year alone. We must lean on Christ and one another to make this year greater than we imagine because all of us are in it together.

Happy New Year!
Pastor Michael