Dear Friends,

This week marks the one year “anniversary” of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While, we had heard growing reports of the possible impact of this virus, it wasn’t until we all shut-down that we all realized this was different. But none of us understood a year ago how long this would last.

I still vividly remember Tom Edwards hastily recording me in my office, announcing that we were shutting down for a couple of weeks and how we were planning a big potluck later in the month to celebrate our return. That was the last time I tried to plan anything more than three days in advance!

As I reflect on this past year, I’m mindful of how so many of you have lost so much. Some of you have lost jobs, some lost businesses, some lost anticipated income. Some of you lost sports seasons, your senior year, and your graduations. Some of you lost your normal routines, your connections to others, and your support networks. Too many of us have lost loved ones, compounded with the tragedy that we were often unable to be with them in their last moments. We have all experienced this as a year of loss. I do hope that you give yourself permission to grieve those losses. We can only heal, when we face the reality of the loss.

And yet, as followers of Jesus, we are encouraged to face our grief in a particular way. The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:14, “do not grieve as those who have no hope…” He then tells us that when we grieve, never forget that Jesus died and rose again. The Resurrection means that, in Jesus, our worst day is never our last day. Our worst year, is never our last year. Our losses, while real, do not define us forever.

Probably faster than we realize, COVID-19 will become as distant a memory for some people as September 11, December 7th, or the Flu of 1918. But I know so many of you will never forget this year. I won’t. And while we will continue to carry these loses with us, I’m grateful that in just a few weeks, we will invited to lay down every loss at the foot of the Cross; fully confident that Resurrection awaits on the other side.

Grace and Peace,

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