Thanksgiving and the \"Chains\" of COVID

Thanksgiving and the “Chains” of COVID
Reflection by Pastor, Rev. Dr. Scott T. Arnold    11/17/2020
3 I thank my God every time I remember you. 4 In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. 7 It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart and, whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me.          (Philippians 1:3-7)
                This year, there will be more remembering than regathering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More of us will be separated, more of us will be scattered, not gathering in groups, families, like we did before this virus changed our world. There will be some small gatherings, virtual meetings, video calls, and virtually attended meals. However, this will be a year of more remembering than regathering in person. We don’t like it, and yet we must listen to the Science and go beyond emotions and sacrifice for one another. The Apostle Paul talked about the “chains” of defending and confirming the Gospel.  We must accept our “chains” of inconvenience and isolation during COVID-19.  How can we proceed with our Thanksgiving celebrations?  Paul gives us some clues, FOUR reasons to give thanks.
                1. We are to thank God. (v.3) and remember others (we can pray and reach out in some way).
               2. We are to pray with joy (v.4-5) because we are partners in the Gospel of God’s Kingdom.
               3. We are to be confident (v.6) because God will finish His good work in us until Jesus comes.
               4. We are to be encouraged in our hearts (v.7) because we can trust God’s grace.
Each of us are adjusting this year, and are dealing with disappointment, frustration, loneliness, isolation, disconnection, loss of friends, loss of independence, and a concern for the future. Yet with all this, with the CHAINS we must temporarily bear, we must trust that God will set us free, God will deliver us, God will teach us many things through this pandemic. God is loving and just, sovereign, and powerful. We are called to express and share our thanksgiving, to help others in new and creative ways.  We are called to gather in creative ways, and to keep on “remembering”, because this will help us deal with our struggles, pain, or loss.  God is with us, let us not forget or grow so weary as to stop giving thanks.
Marilyn and I are thankful for God’s protection, God’s provision, God’s all sufficient grace in health, family, friendship, church family. These are difficult times, we truly miss many people we would like to be closer to here in Thanksgiving, but we are called to accept our situation with faith in God’s help to lead us to bear our chains or crosses.  We pray for loved ones who have died this past year, and remember those who have died or lost loved ones due to COVID-19. Times like these teach us deeper reliance upon God and draw us closer to the heart of our loving God.  “Give thanks with a grateful heart because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son”.
  • Pastor Scott Arnold  

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