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February 1 Post

The Minister’s Message February 3, 2023

“But strive first for the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Last Sunday at worship, one of our members exclaimed, “We’re back!” Their enthusiastic greeting echoes that of so many others who each week affirm that they’ve returned from isolation, from months of worship participation via life-stream, from an extended time of hunkering down up north, out west or up in Canada, until it felt safe to return. Church now becomes a spiritual game of hide and go seek. We cry out in person and on-line, “Allee, Allee outs in free!”

Many people listen. Many people run for the home base we call church. Yet statistically, across all branches of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, fewer people choose to participate in faith practices now in contrast to pre-pandemic.

Like survivors after the tornado or hurricane has passed, we emerge from our shelters shell-shocked at how the landscape of the world has changed. Some people dive right back into life the way they think they left it, and hold fiercely to that world as if clinging to a life-raft.

The more curious among us look about in wonderment. Every crisis creates new opportunities. Fresh questions lead to new possibilities. How will our life change? Where is God calling us in the now and the next? What resources will we need to get there?

Our legacy as human creatures will be the last thing for which we’re remembered, which is always the next thing we will do. Not where we’ve been, but where we’re going will be our legacy. In the past, when times were good, we had a tendency to become complacent. We began to rely more on our own insight and less on God. Our prayers shifted from asking for God’s guidance, to making our plans and asking God to bless them.

I wonder if God is asking, “Can you hear me now?” Listen, and then consider these things.

What will you say ‘no’ to from your past, in order to say ‘yes’ to your sacred future?

How will you fulfill the purpose for which you were made in the year to come?

What attitudes and behaviors served you well in the past, but no longer serve you well now? Do you have the courage to thank that part of you for serving you back then, and then let it go?

God has given you the winning lottery ticket for your best life. What are you doing to do with it?

Prayer: God be with me, behind, before me, beside and around me. Grant me the faith to seek you first, to listen, and then to respond to your will and your ways, for life. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Rev. Dr. Anna V. Copeland

Senior Minister, The Community Church of Vero Beach, Florida

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