Six hundred and fifty-four days ago I sat down at my computer and wrote a piece about unchartered waters. It was intended to bring a measure of hope in some very uncertain times. We had just made the decision to suspend in-person worship, but no one really knew what that might look like. Our tech folks, Emily Beekman in particular, went to work and we began recording worship so we could stay connected as best as we could. It was just strange preaching to a camera and nothing else, trying to picture people sitting in their spots scattered throughout the sanctuary. I wrote everyday through 2020 and began to wonder how long the pandemic would last as well as how long I might keep writing. Then we made the decision to read through the Bible during the year 2021. And God prompted me to turn the daily writing into a daily Bible study. It has been an incredible journey. Thanks for joining us. Along the way we have celebrated holidays together, major and minor. We have remembered people, dates, and events. I have no idea who has been reading or how far some of the writings have been sent. It has been a challenging and sometimes difficult year. Through it all, we have had God’s Word to turn to. My hope and prayer for all of us is that we have grown in faith this last year. If this was your first trip through the Bible, congratulations! Look what you have done. If this is a repeat journey, great job! Either way…what Bible are you going to read through this next year? My journey in 2022 will be through the blue letter edition of the Bible. Not only are the words of Jesus in red, but throughout the Old Testament the prophecies about Jesus are in blue! Every read through, God reveals more and different things about Himself. And His Word also reveals things about me. Some of them I like and others, not so much. That is how we grow.
Some days I have had a helper in my writing. Many days as I have sat at my desk at home writing, my buddy Casper has stood next to me, “helping”! But he has written as well. So, I will let him share some thoughts with you.
Hi everybody it’s me Casper. I’m another year older now, almost eleven. And during the year I have gotten a new brother and a new sister. They are greyhounds like me. They’re OK but, well, I liked being an only dog too. My dad said I could share some thoughts with you since this is the last day we will be writing. It will be nice to have my dad back. I think he is about out of words! This year I learned that all three of us are adopted but my dad said that he is adopted too. Only he said it is because Jesus was willing to take away his sins and now, he is an adopted son of Jesus and my mom is an adopted daughter of Jesus. I think that’s pretty cool to be one of Jesus’ kids. It’s not too bad being adopted because that means somebody loves you and not only that, they picked you. So that must mean Jesus picked the people He adopted too. I think Jesus adopted a lot of people. I learned that naps are good things. My dad says that is rest and God rested after he created everything. I would have to rest a long time if I created everything. I have to take a nap after I do zoomies in the backyard for 5 minutes. Dad said we are supposed to rest because we function better when we do. I don’t think he always takes his own advice though. I learned that it is good to say thank you when people do things for you. So me and Hickory, my brother, and Happy, my sister say thank you by snuggling with mom and dad and we give them kisses and lots of tail wags too. And most of the time we even come when they call us. I also learned that you have to accept people just like they are. My brother is scared of lots of things, and he gets really shy, but we still love him anyway. And my sister is kind of a drama Queen. But she’s really really fast. She even won a bunch of races. I did too back in the day, but she is way faster than me. But that’s ok. We love her too. God made each one of us just the way He wanted us to be, and He loves us so we try hard to love each other. Oh, and one more thing. It is good to share. We have lots of toys but there is one everybody likes, and we have to take turns. Sometimes we bark at each other and once in a while I growl. That usually gets me in trouble. I don’t always want to share but dad says that’s one of the ways we show each other love. I don’t like it so much when he is right. So that’s all for me, at least I think so. It was fun to share with you once in a while and it gave my dad a break.
As I look back over the year there is much to be thankful for. Yes, we had some challenges. There were some folks who joined the church triumphant. It hurts down here but as believers we live in the promise that one day, we will all be together again in a place way better than this. We have had the privilege of worshiping in person and it is amazing what a lift that brings to so many every week. We were together for Easter and Christmas. It was awesome and amazing to see people. Many of you have spent time checking in on others. Thank you. You have been the hands and feet of Jesus. For all the volunteers, you have made ministry richer and easier for all of us. Thank you. For the many people who make Sunday morning run; you are awesome. Thank you. For Matt, Lawrence, John, Patti, Emily, and Val. I appreciate your servant hearts and love of Jesus. Thank you. Church council kept meeting in spite of the pandemic via zoom. Thank you for your leadership. For those of you who gave faithfully, you have blessed many through your gifts. Thank you. And a special shout out to Patti Wiese and Emily Beekman for sending these writings out for 654 days. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your hard work.
If you are old enough you have heard these words. I’m so glad we had this time together, just to share a laugh and sing a song. It has been a good 654 days, but it is time to sign off. It has been a pleasure spending part of the day with you. And as another comedy classic would say, Good night and God bless.
May we always be:
In His Grip,
Pastor Matt W. and Casper