Brother Paul’s Thoughts and Musings Regarding the “Signs of the Times”

Sunday, November 29, 2020
First Sunday of Advent

Today being the First Sunday of Advent, the church begins a new Liturgical Year. So, Happy “New Church Year” to all!!!

During the timeframe of our most recent church year, in a secular sense, it was a year that will be memorable in one way, but also a year that many of us may wish to forget. The problems/unfortunate events began last January when on a Sunday afternoon we learned of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a helicopter accident in California. The nation grieved the death of this former basketball star and an iconic figure. Then a month later this “virus thing” came from abroad and affected and killed residents in a Washington state nursing home. The virus continued to spread and became a serious pandemic resulting in a national crisis both physically and fiscally. Last Advent, who would have guessed we would be wearing masks wherever we went and the new “in term” would be “social distancing.” We were kept away from family and friends and could not, in peace, patronize our favorite eating/entertainment establishments. In addition, we had to experience a number of horrible examples of policing in our country which resulted in unnecessary deaths and significant uprisings in many of our cities protesting the behavior of law enforcement. If that was not enough, we moved through a knockdown drag-out presidential campaign and election season. And here we are, post-election, and there is still discord regarding election results. Can it get any worse? What will the future bring? Well, only God knows, and we can only pray it gets better.

An important question for us to reflect on as we lived through the events of last (church) year was how did your spiritual life hold-up in the midst of it all. How did you maintain your faith in such difficult times? Were you a person of hope and promise or did you become pessimistic and negative? How well did you pray during this time or did you pray at all out of a sense of hopelessness?

As we begin this new year today, we can only hope our lives and our society will improve. We pray that it will. But also, how do we nourish our spiritual lives and how do they need to be attended to and adjusted in light of how we respond to the events which impact us. The bottom line is for this year-how can we become more faithful followers of God and to witness to that goodness and promise?

As we proceed into this year with the realities of the past one still so real, we all have a great calling from God. How can we witness to new beginnings in light of all that we have been through? How do we proclaim that God is still with us and guiding us to a better tomorrow? We must be willing to listen and believe. Our role as believes is now more important than ever. Let us prepare ourselves spiritually and be those important bright lights to our world in the weeks and months to come.