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I recently came across the image above on an old friend’s Facebook feed.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about how well it depicts just some of the pressures we are feeling as pastors right now. Since early March – we have been facing a continual stream of complex challenges related to how we lead and shepherd our congregation during this pandemic. And now we are encountering what is likely to be one of the more complex challenges yet – when and how do we resume gathering in-person? We long for ways to stay and be connected. Its complex to discern how we might best do that while at the same time honouring the guidance of our Provincial leaders.

As we have faced this stream of complex challenges, we surely haven’t gotten it right every time. We have found new ways of connecting. We have discovered new gifts that were latent. We have discovered things about ourselves that these past months have exposed – some of it good and some of it quite sobering. We have lamented deaths in our community that we were unable to gather together to remember and grieve corporately. We have faced exhaustion and weariness – along with so many others of you – as together we try to navigate our lives in this “new normal.” These are some of the realities; there are more.

Today I want to make a two-fold plea. First – please continue to pray for us. We are both weary. We are both at times overwhelmed by the new landscape we find ourselves in. We are both in desperate need of wisdom from God as we lead and navigate these times. I know many of you are doing this faithfully and we want to thank you for that. Please don’t stop.

Second – I want to make a plea for unity. The graphic above also captures another reality we are all seeing. Perspectives right now on our current situation and how best to respond to it differ. They differ widely. And not only that – but many of us are discovering that convictions and perspectives are also being deeply held. We think and believe different things – and those thoughts and beliefs are deeply held and matter a lot to us.

What a wonderful opportunity . . . yes for division and conflict . . . but also an opportunity for us all to grow.

  • To grow in learning to sacrifice. To sacrifice our ideals and desires for the good and safety of others.
  • To grow in humility. Are you noticing how many of us are so confident of our perspectives right now? Let’s embody James’ wisdom when he urges us to be “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19)
  • To grow in patience. Patience with each other. With our government leaders. With the longings we have for life to return to some kind of normal.
  • To grow in nuance. Avoid thinking the worst of those we may disagree with. Learning “both/and” thinking instead of resorting to “either/or” thinking.

Part of what inspired this post was my friend’s Facebook post – that graphic above. The other part was a helpful short article I highly commend to all of us - 

Be blessed Church Family. And continue to be a blessing!

Pastor Tim