For 50 years the Upper Sand Mountain Parish has been ministering to persons in need that live on the mountain in both Jackson and DeKalb Counties of Northeast Alabama. And thanks to mission partners like you who respond to God’s call, we are able to continue to offer the Love of Christ Jesus our Lord to so many under-resourced residents of the upper Sand Mountain plateau.
Brothers and Sisters,
Once again we are facing a time of many uncertainties and unknowns. But this time there are some significant differences that I have not experienced in my lifetime of 59 years.
It has been my experience, and my advice as a military and community leader, that when crisis arises humanity must “come together” to face the challenge head on. Today however, in the midst of this latest threat to humanity named COVID-19, we are being told our first line of defense is “social distancing”.
In times like these I am grateful for my Wesleyan, United Methodist Christian, “yes and” ideology. While I do agree with medical professionals that social distancing will minimize the spread of a virus. I also believe that humanity, guided by the love of God in Christ and empowered by The Holy Spirit, will continue to adapt creative ways to come together regardless of geographic distances.
We see this happening at the Upper Sand Mountain Parish as we continue to serve our under-resourced neighbors with food Monday – Thursday from 9am – 10:45am. We have adapted our service at this time but we are still in ministry bringing food to the client’s cars rather than the clients coming in the Ministry Center. Another way we at the USMP are presently distancing and coming together is that we have temporarily suspended receiving donations to minimize the spread of the virus from surface contact yet at the same time our team is coming together to turn over our three Better Way Shoppes from Fall and Winter to Spring and Summer clothing.
One of the most difficult decisions leaders of the Body of Christ have had to make during this time is that of canceling “in-person” gatherings that are so very precious to so many of us for our expressions of Worship and Fellowship. While saddened by the temporary geographic separation, I am moved spiritually and encouraged to see the creative ways the Body of Christ is overcoming the challenges and continuing to serve one another.
The most important thing I personally am being reminded through all of this is how quickly our lives can change via influences beyond our control and how preciously fragile humanity truly is. In the midst of this truth I am comforted in the eternal truth that I have a personal relationship with The Living God through Christ Jesus our Lord whose Holy Spirit fills me with Love and Peace. As 1 John 4: 18 says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…”.
Fear not beloved of the Living God. This too shall pass. In the meantime, let us all join together while we socially distance and pray as our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ, continues to teach us how to pray today by praying; Our Father, which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, For ever and ever. Amen.