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Pastoral Letter for April 17, 2020

Pastoral Letter for a Distributed Church             April 17, 2020

Dear friends,

Since we’re now five weeks into life in pandemic-land, Dr. Silvernail thought it would be a nice change of pace for me to put together this week’s pastoral letter.  This will be a bit different than the previous ones.  I figured I would take this chance to share some of what I keep coming back to in this season of pandemic.  Back on April 7, I led a devotional on 1 Peter 1:3-9 at the Session business meeting.  This passage has been an anchor for me, and I hope it will be for you too.

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Right now, I think we need patience in the face of tribulation and suffering.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that one of the hardest things to deal with is that every day is the same.  With so many options closed, there aren’t many options to fill our days.  I feel like I’ve been on more walks in these past 5 weeks than the rest of my life combined.  I can feel my patience wearing thin.  I’m more snappy and grumpy these days.  I’m constantly annoyed and stressed.  I’m sure that many of you are feeling exactly the same way.

Thankfully, the Lord has good words for us in this time.  In 1 Peter 1, He points us to our inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.  That unfading characteristic of our salvation is often overlooked.  We will never tire of considering the salvation that we have in Christ.  What we have in Christ will never be old hat.  And in these days, when everything feels like it’s been weathered by time, where even the joys of spending time with family get dull, an unfading salvation is exactly what we should consider.  It is the unfading glory of our salvation in verses 3-5 that forms the foundation for our ability to come through the trails of verses 6-8.  And then finally, our perseverance isn’t just to get through, but produces glory, praise, and honor for Jesus.  Folks, the 80th load of laundry, the millionth snack you’ve thrown together, the countless meals you’ve cooked, and the small acts of looking out for your neighbors bring the Lord glory even if we don’t feel like they do.  What we do in this repetitive season of life matters, even the smallest, most mundane of things.  Let us consider how we bring glory to our Savior in our perseverance.

And as you meditate on that, there are some things I’d like to highlight for you.

  1. The Session is still meeting via Zoom, and we’re still praying for you. Please let us know if you have prayer requests!  Also, please block out the evening of Thursday, May 28 in your busy schedules for the All-Church Night of Prayer.
  1. Speaking of praying, please continue to pray with the rest of the PCA in 30 Days of Prayer for the month of April. We’re posting each day’s reading, items for prayer, and a link to a short video on our Facebook group as we pray for our churches, our nation, and the world. We’ll be emphasizing prayer in our Community Groups and Sunday School classes as well. 
  1. We’d encourage you to come to the Adult Sunday School class at 9:30am on Sunday’s. Frank Pugh, Tom Gardner, and Jon Thompson are leading us through Luke.  Furthermore, it’s a great time to be in God’s Word together.  This week’s class will be a prayer meeting.  Also, the Middle School/High School Sunday School class will resume on April 19 (this Sunday) on Zoom.  I’ll be leading that class, and we’ll be picking up where we left off last spring in Isaiah 47.
  1. Be sure to refer back to last week’s pastoral letter for updates on the Community group schedule, budget changes, and ways to give.

We’re in a hard time.  Life in pandemic-land is exhausting, stressful, and anxiety producing.  But yet, the glory of our salvation shines forth as a beacon in the fog.  We have a great Savior who loves us far beyond what we could possibly even imagine.  Let us rejoice!

Rev. Frank Wang

Assistant Pastor, Potomac Hills Presbyterian Church