Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Even as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, we face a world that is torn by strife - a vicious war of aggression in Ukraine, continuing political division in our own nation, new threats of viral respiratory infections among the youngest and oldest members of our society.
While we face difficult challenges in an unstable economy, and uncertain public health environment, a world order that is in turmoil, we must realize that these things are not new to our human experience. The Scriptures tell stories of challenges faced by humanity, and the nation of Israel in particular. The one constant in all these stories is the constancy and faithfulness of our God.
If we would but stop and pause to look around us, we see the work of God's mission everywhere: in the generosity of volunteers caring for the poor and the hungry; in the efforts of diplomats and world leader to work together on climate change; in our families as we see our children grow, as the child Jesus did, in wisdom and grace.
As Priest and pastor of St. Luke's Church here in Lebanon, I am particularly thankful for the commitment of so many of our parishioners, who throughout this most challenging time, have continued to foster their growth as disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ. By your prayers and support, you provide not only for your own growth but continue to support the work of God's mission in our wider community. You make clear that even in difficult and challenging times, that the church of Christ persists, and the work of the Gospel continues unabated.
With your support, St. Luke’s continues its programming for children and youth as we discover again how to learn alongside one other as well joining together for prayer and fellowship. Online bible studies and webcasts of our live worship services continue the work of reconnecting members of our parish family even as it extends that family beyond the confines of immediate Lebanon area.
Clearly, our current challenges have done little to stifle our community's dedicated service to the poor and others at the margin of society, as we continue to support the work of organizations like Lebanon County Christian Ministries financially, and when possible with our volunteer energies. These and other programs give abiding witness to the values of social justice and reconciliation that are essential to the mission and ministry of all communities of faith.
Most especially, I am grateful for our community’s quiet and constant witness to the gospel - the good news of Jesus - that lies at the core of our life together – whether we gather as Christ's Church in person or in our ZOOM rooms!
The Book of Common Prayer, along with Holy Scripture, lies at the heart of our tradition, and bids us daily to turn to God with truly thankful hearts so that
we may show forth God's praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, as we give up ourselves to God's service, that all people may come to walk before God in holiness and righteousness all our days.
On behalf of St. Luke's Episcopal Church, I urge you to take some time to count your blessings, even as challenging times continue, and wish you and yours, a safe and very Happy Thanksgiving.