“… The entire future is present to the Lord, and the entire present is to Him eternal.” (DP 333:3)

August 21, 2020

Well, summer is almost over. I hope these past few months have been good for you and yours. It’s been one of the stranger summers I can remember, for sure. Everyone is wearing a mask. Except the ones who aren’t. We’re having the usual meetings to plan out the new year at the school, except we don’t even know how long we will be teaching online before students actually return to the classroom, so many of our plans have uncomfortable question marks on them. Likewise, as I look at the church calendar for the coming year, there is a much greater fog of uncertainty over everything compared to years past.

All this would be enough to process, but we also have as a background to our local concerns the cause of this uncertainty: a viral pandemic. I am extremely glad that, all things considered, COVID-19 is pretty mild compared to the kinds of plagues that have struck humanity in the past. Still, it has made some people very sick and it has taken lives.

Simultaneous to all this, of course, is a rise of civil unrest triggered by a reaction against social injustice and racism. Protests and demonstrations are happening on a level not seen in a long time. Hard conversations about race and important discussions of police policy and procedure are happening, all of which I am happy are happening. But with all this we are also seeing violence and destruction happen, which I cannot condone. And now we are about to head into a presidential election season, with all that that brings.

And here we are, a small church community, trying to do our best. Personally, I have to admit I am sometimes quite frustrated by the way necessary health precautions are disrupting our ability to follow our mission. I spent most of my first year as the new pastor here leading in the direction of reimagining the mission of the church as something community-focused, built on face to face, personal interaction and cooperation, and now a lot of the obvious ways of following that mission have been temporarily taken away.

But I am also optimistic. We are continuing to learn and develop as a group. Our online capabilities are growing rapidly in response to new needs. Individuals and groups are stepping up to find ways of serving others that do not require large in-person gatherings. In the school, our faculty are heroically stepping up to challenge after challenge, finding new ways of delivering New Church Education to the students in our care. As a group we have been reading, thinking and talking about race and how America’s racial history impacts modern society in general and our young students in particular.

And, in the end, I trust the Lord. As He teaches in Lamentations 3:34-36, “To crush underfoot all the prisoners of the earth, to deny a man justice in the presence of the Most High, to subvert a man in his lawsuit, the Lord does not approve.” And I agree with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when he said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice,” at least when one looks toward spiritual eternity. Or as it says in Divine Providence:

If a spearman or musketeer should aim at a target, and a straight line were to be drawn from the target to a point a mile on beyond it, then if the spearman or musketeer should be off in his aim by only a fingernail, on reaching the end of the mile the missile or ball would be far wide of the line drawn on beyond the target. So it would be if the Lord did not every moment, indeed every least moment, regard eternity in foreseeing and providing each person’s place after death. But this the Lord does, because the entire future is present to Him, and the entire present is to Him eternal. (DP 333:3)

Who knows what the world will bring us tomorrow, or in the coming weeks. But I completely trust that whatever it is, the Lord will continually and subtly bend it all toward the benefit of each one of us in that long arc of His eternal providence. We just need to do our part, cooperate with Him, and continue to love and care for one another, in His name.

Rev. Mac Frazier – August 14th, 2020

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