Beloved ones,

I recently came across this quote from Yvon Chouinard, American rock climber and environmentalist: “Fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all.”

We are certainly facing MUCH “unknown,” aren’t we? Standing at the threshold of a brand-new year – 12 months we have never lived before – a year in which we will experience a sure-to-be highly-conflictual Presidential election – a year during which our United Methodist denomination may very well be making major decisions regarding our way forward globally.

All of this uncertainty, in addition to possible changes in our own individual lives (health, relationships, finances, and more) can cause us great anxiety and real fear. Facing the unknown? Not typically our favorite place to be.

And yet, here we are. The perfect time to remember the eternal promises of God!

Joshua 1:9 “I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Deuteronomy 31:8 “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Isaiah 40:31  “But those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.”

And of course,

Isaiah 41:10  “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

In addition, as members of our Union Avenue UMC congregation, this is ALSO the perfect time for us to remember and re-claim our divine calling to be “faithful servants, sharing the good news of God’s grace.” Through faith, with power, and in hope, let us proceed confidently and with focus into the great unknown of 2020 – together – as always, holding one another in love and mutual respect. For to quote John Wesley, “We need not think alike to love alike.”

And so, with holy boldness, I pray for all a Happy New Year!!

See you in church,