“Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Lent Sermon Video
Click below to hear The Rev. Emily Zimbrick-Rogers‘ Sunday sermon preview for the Third Sunday in Lent, March 7th, 2021.
Dear People of St. David’s,
I pray that you and yours are safe and well and that the promise of the near availability of the vaccines and the increasing sunlight is giving your heart a lift and a new resolve to press on.
This Sunday marks a year of profound change in all of our lives. We experienced a growing fear as the COVID-19 virus took hold in our nation. Some of our parishioners succumbed to the effects brought on by the virus. We began to experience closings and physical distancing. We had trouble finding toilet paper and some other life necessities. Schools and places of business and government went virtual. We began spending much more time at home and binge-watching became an ordinary activity. We closed church to in-person worship and gatherings.
Our lives were changed profoundly in so many ways. And though it was kind of “fun” at the beginning to slow down and even take some time off, a year of challenges and changes has had a profound effect on many of our lives. I know for me, the physical distancing and the absence of regular hugs has been a challenge for my extroverted self and the ways I prefer to exercise my ministry and help us live into our mission. But, like many of you, I have learned some important lessons and have received a number of gifts in this time of shadow and struggle.
It’s hard to know when you’re in the midst of one of life’s struggles just what the outcomes are going to be. We all experience struggles, times of trial, and challenges that try our souls and call us to live our lives in different ways. That’s part of life. This pandemic has been and will continue, for a time, to challenge us. But there’s a light at the end of this tunnel and any tunnel we walk because God always has a last word and that last word is life, even if it’s life on the other side of the door of death.
St. Paul had more than his share of struggles as he traveled to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was imprisoned, beaten, shipwrecked, rejected by some of his partners in ministry, but he learned something that is so important for living life to the fullest. He learned to “forget” what had happened before and to keep his eye on the life with God and his calling in life. Oh, I’m sure he had been changed by his life’s struggles, but he didn’t dwell there and we need not either.
So as we walk together toward the life in God that is always before us, let me invite you to take heart. Remember that God is with us and has a vision for our lives and the life of the world. Press on! Press on in the life that is before you in hope and confidence and joy for whatever may be coming next.
Grace and Peace,