Grateful. I am full of gratitude for each of you and for our faith community as I look back on our 2020-2021 “program” year, and even further back, to the confusion and anxiety we felt as the pandemic was taking hold in March 2020.
Paul’s thank yous to his churches come to my mind. These days, I’m connecting with Paul in a new way. I can hear now that Paul wasn’t just politely complimenting. He was expressing how deeply he felt the power of faith shaping the lives and sacrifices of these new Christians as they went through tough times with love and hope. As you, Our Redeemer’s, also have done.
So, here are some of Paul’s words, and some of my own, expressing my gratitude for your faith and love and steadfast hope over these long, unprecedented months.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Philippians 1:3
Although we couldn’t worship together, you have stayed engaged. You have learned to Zoom. You have worshiped at a different time, if you couldn’t on Sunday mornings. You have sung hymns, prayed and received communion – alone in your house, but together in the Spirit!
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers…. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which God has called you…and God’s incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1
You have been as faithful and committed to give as ever, some of you learning to give virtually, too.
There is no need for me to write to you about this service to the Lord’s people. For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it … that since last year you … were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action. II Corinthians 9:1
You have consoled, supported, and blessed the most vulnerable, including our Road2Housing guests. You have found ways to stay in touch and care for one another, even in our semi-isolation.
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
I Thessalonians 1
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
II Corinthians 9:12
There is so much more I would like to say, but I trust the time and opportunity for that will come. In the meantime, “I am longing to see you so that…we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (Romans 1:11-12)
And I remain: confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Thanks be to our faithful, steadfastly