Last Thursday, Punxsutawney Phil made his annual appearance to tell us how long this winter will last. For those who enjoy these snow-filled days, you will be happy to know that there will be six more weeks of winter. In many southern states, which are experiencing unusually cold temperatures, ice storms, and even blizzards, this winter can’t end soon enough.
When I was a child, February was not a good month. I was often sick with a combination of tonsilitis and bronchitis. Missing two to three weeks of school was permitted back then. My teachers did not send my class assignments home with my sister, so I didn’t have much to do all day. My mom, who worked nights, would stay up with me in the morning to take my temperature and give me the medications the doctor prescribed.
Being sick, I really wasn’t that interested in doing much, until I started to feel better. I wanted to get back to school, to see my classmates and get through the mountain of homework which was waiting for me. The only time I left home was to go to the doctor.
By March, as the weather changed and the medication worked, I felt better. I rushed back to complete everything my illness prevented. I tired easily because I tried to do too much too quickly. I had to discover how to pace myself, balancing all the back homework I had to complete with current assignments. I learned that getting back to school was a gradual process.
It’s February once again and I’m experiencing a different kind of cabin fever. I am eager to get out and learn about ways we are in mission and ministry throughout the District. This time the illness is not mine. I believe that we have all been driven by COVID and the impact of the pandemic for longer than I imagined. Even so, I am sensing renewed energy and purpose for many of our faith communities.
Over the past three years, we have all had to consider how we can be effective, vibrant, and vital. Missions that filled our spaces before COVID have not recovered as we anticipated. We are in that balancing space of catching up and moving forward at the same time. As we seek ways to be in connection with our congregations and our neighborhoods, may we also reflect on the verses of Matthew 25: 31-46, and how this passage invites us to a life of serving.
How does this passage inspire us to journey with our sisters and brothers? What current or new missions and ministries can we start or restart to help others know they are worthy, and they are loved. In what ways is God still calling you to be His instruments in our world and for all of His children? Our work is valuable. Our work is needed. Our work is transformative, for those who receive it as well as we who offer it. May we invest in the time of preparation, rejuvenation, and inspiration as we enter God’s mission field once again. And Amen.