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Below you will find articles from this newsletter and other articles published by Grace Church.
See a listing of articles from Pastor Jon See a listing of Hazelwood articles See a listing of Miscellaneous articles
“Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York; and all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house in the deep bosom of the ocean buried.” (Richard III, Act 1, Scene 1)
This opening line to one of Shakespeare’s best known plays is often quoted to describe dismal and unhappy times, but there’s more to it than that – it’s important to read things in context. In modern parlance we might say, “Things might have been bad for a while, but there is hope for the future.”
Here we are, in the bleak mid-winter of 2022 and the COVID Pandemic is just rounding off its second full year. Many people, I am sure, have had about enough, and feel they are enduring a winter of discontent – and I wouldn’t blame them one bit.
I, on the other hand, am encouraged!
I am encouraged that despite the division that has been forced upon us by the pandemic, by our denomination, and by personal struggles, God is with us and when we are silent he speaks to us and comforts us. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23: 4 (NIV)
I am encouraged by leaders, who seek the Lord’s will before their own; who pray and listen; who trust that God, in his time, will reveal the path for us. I am encouraged by those who have decided to walk alongside our leaders in faith, in trust, in love, in hope. “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.” Psalm 34: 4-5 (NIV)
I am encouraged by those who read between the lines of my last couple of articles; and realising that I was facing some personal challenges, took the time to let me know they cared. I am also encouraged by and thankful for, those who have stepped into the breach to lend a helping hand.
There is no need for this to be a winter of discontent. Satan preys on our weaknesses and fears, on our doubts and worries. His mission is to divide us and control us by taking away any hope for the future. God, on the other hand, shows us the way to serve and lead others in spite of our frailties and doubts. He shows us the joy of life and gives us hope. He gave us Jesus, the light of the world, and he sent the Holy Spirit to help us and to be with us forever. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)
I am encouraged, and I see a bright hope for tomorrow – a summer of light and love on the horizon. I see the potential for our congregation to come through this “winter of discontent” even stronger and more willing to serve God’s Kingdom here on earth. “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 23-25 (NIV)