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Daily Encouragement - January 14

As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 Jesus said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Matthew 12:22-26 I am a worrier. I will admit it. My parents were not great worriers, and I think I took that trait from my dear Aunt Jane who was not a blood relation, but wife of my Uncle Jim and greatly loved. She often said I was more like her than her own children. (She once was so worried about whether or not her daughter arrived safely to a church meeting in Wadesboro that she got in her car and drove there to make sure daughter’s car was in the parking lot. I will add that at the time, her daughter was 44 years old and the meeting was 12 miles away.) But I worry. And this new year of 2021 has started out by presenting us with a smorgasbord (you have to be a certain age to remember what that means) of things about which to worry. For example, COVID-19. I would love to have a vaccination, and I read in the news, and heard on the TV that people my age (65+) could receive them. Especially if one had underlying conditions (both Rick and I do). And many of my acquaintances from nearby counties had received theirs. And so I called the Craven County health department. “Oh no!” I was told. Only 75+, other ailments notwithstanding. And so I continue to worry about either contracting the virus or spreading it. And then we had a violent (deadly) insurrection at the Capitol. I was appalled to see a confederate battle flag (I know. It really is not the Confederate battle flag). But I was more appalled to see a Christian flag marching into the Capitol alongside armed people carrying weapons and zip ties and calling for the death of the Vice-President. My beloved Divinity School professor, James M. Efird, always said that one must measure everything against the love that Jesus taught. If it is not about love, it is not Christian. I had a hard time believing that what was going on there was about love. I recalled a favorite hymn from my childhood. “Onward Christian soldiers, marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before.” I cringed as I observed the gallows on the Capitol lawn, and that flag leading the procession. Now we are told that we may see such acts in state capitol buildings across our country. I worry. Who are we Americans? I wonder and I worry. But I look outside, and see both a squirrel and a wren at our birdfeeder. The trees are bare and the earth is in its winter rest. Sunsets (and sunrises, I am sure, though as a retired preacher I rarely see them) have been beautiful. My neighbors are still the best. The river flows to the sea. I take a deep breath and remember a poster I once saw: “Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.” A Prayer in a Time of National Crisis (UM Book of Worship #517) God of all ages, in your sight nations rise and fall, and pass through times of peril. Now when our land is troubled, be near to judge and save. May leaders be led by your wisdom; may they search your will and see it clearly. If we have turned from your way, reverse our ways and help us to repent. Give us your light and your truth, let them guide us; Through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of this world, and our Savior. Amen. Pastor Rachel Moser

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