Welcome to the Portsmouth United Methodist Church during this Lenten season. For the safety of our congregation and visitors we continue to conduct our Worship Services, Sunday School and Bible Studies via ZOOM. We have recently added a short term Bible Study group studying “Our Spiritual Gifts”. The group will meet on ZOOM on Thursday evenings from 6-7:30pm from Feb.25 – April 29. Please contact the church office at 683-4005 if you are interested in joining this study or any of our Worship Services or Sunday School for the ZOOM access information.
From the Pastor March 2021
Something to Look Forward To . . .
When life becomes difficult and times are getting tough (or when they have been tough for an entire year already) God always gives us “something to look forward to” – like the relief we feel when the trial is finally OVER. We can anticipate warmer weather, loosening of social distancing or quarantining restrictions ( at least a little bit).
Even Jesus our Lord had “something to look forward to” when he was facing the ultimate trial of his life – the cross of his crucifixion . . . Hebrews 12:1b-2a reminds us . . . “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross” . . . (NKJV). If the Son of God needed to keep in mind the end of his suffering and look toward God’s victory over sin and death, toward his own resurrection and return to God, then certainly we as his children may find ourselves in the same situation !
Looking forward to a vacation, a weekend, a break from work, a nap, getting out of the house, or even getting a vaccination to help stem the tide of the global pandemic – these can give us renewed strength and a rebirth of hope. With light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak, we can focus on the future and the anticipated deliverance from pain and suffering, the return to a “new normal” of sorts.
In many ways we have been through an entire year of “Lenten” type sacrifices. We have given up our freedom to hug and “be with” those we love. We have given up our in-person worship services, and our usual gatherings and fellowship. We have given up basic “necessities” like toilet paper and sanitizing wipes, or at least been deprived of them for a time. We are emerging from a “dark night of the soul”, a wilderness of homebound survival. Our work life, our school life, our recreational life, our worship life, and our connectedness to others around us have all suffered and “shriveled up” to almost nothing.
But “Sunday is coming” we can remind ourselves . . . on the long Friday of suffering and pain. During the solitude and “nothingness” of Saturday, we look for the sunrise of a new day filled with the promises of freedom and relative “safety”. Resurrection life awaits those who have traveled the Way of Suffering. God is about to triumph over death and struggle, over loneliness and isolation, over dread and division from one another.
Ask God to show YOU what he has in store for your life, for your family, your friends and companions, your community, and our church family. We must not rush through the lessons we are learning, even as we find meaning in our “togetherness” against the things that divide and threaten us (including our own wrong or judgmental attitudes). Soon we will be singing the songs of deliverance . . . soon we will be singing the songs of celebration and joy.
As we get closer to Holy Week – Palm Sunday, March 28 through Holy Saturday, April 3 – we will be anticipating a spiritual re-awakening. We will soon be worshipping the Risen Lord and Savior with great joy and rejoicing. We will hopefully be thankful for every bit of connectedness and freedom – leaving behind much of the darkness and struggle. Thank God for every little bit of light and hope until then . . . and bring light and love to everyone that you can – as often as you can !
With You on the Journey of faith,