My constant temptation is to simply check out. Cash it in, retire, unplug, disconnect, disappear into the woods with Melissa, our 200 year old rescue dog and a Bible and have no idea who becomes President in the next election. Social distancing cubed. The manic state of the world, a godless culture and our divided country make me sad. Not mad, just sad. The kind of sad you feel when you take your ball and go home. The manic vitriol and violence encapsulating us 24/7/365 erodes my soul and spirit. I am tired of the drama.
And then I remember that I was called by God…drafted if you will. Perhaps I will one day be released but I can’t quit. Not now. Not today. Or tomorrow. Or the next day. Perhaps what God has invested in me is needed now…in these times. Perhaps everything God has done in my life has been “for such a time as this.” Perhaps doing ministry right now is the reason for which I was created. Perhaps.
So here I stand. Planted firmly. not backing down. Not in a bad mood. Refusing to let this world rob me of joy, laughter or the simple pleasures of nature, friends and family. Truly desiring to do no harm, to do all the good I can and stay in love with God. And I will stand firm tomorrow and the next day. And the day after that. I will boldly stand on the accomplishment of Christ and the hope He brings. He is the only hope we have. He is the only hope we need.
I am so ready for the holidays this year. Thanksgiving is this month but I am especially excited about Christmas 2021. I need Christmas this year. We all got COVID for Christmas last year. I would like something else. Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Men. Christmas Eve services. Angels. Shepherds. Mary. Joseph. Baby Jesus. Hark the herald! Joy to the World! O Holy Night. That kind of stuff is exactly what I need!
As we enter the holidays don’t forget to say a prayer for healing and peace…and for God to raise up healers and peacemakers. And don’t forget to count your blessings; they are innumerable. And don’t be so glued to this earth that you neglect to look up and see the Christmas star blazing in the night sky and angels announcing to our troubled world that Christ is born…born in you and in me!
Peace dear friends and don’t give in to hopelessness, fear and despair. God has this. God has you. You are of value, you matter and you are loved. And most of all, remember that here is hope in Christ. Always has been. Always will be.
Come Lord Jesus come.
Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Sr. Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois