Christmas in May?


May 1, 2021 - Pastor Cathy Stengel

If April showers bring May flowers, what does April snow bring? I have been in Western New York for a long time, and I’ve seen it happen in May. It still isn’t a part of our spring plan to be outside and put the jackets/coats and sweaters away. There’s snow on my hydrangea.

It’s often hard and risky to predict what is going to happen. We’ve learned that over and over this past year. If I wrote all the dates I imagined COVID would be gone… well, never mind that. We are in a season of transition – and have been since the beginning of 2020 when Pastor Tom announced his retirement plans. There have been transitions inside the transitions, tough for those who like predictability. As we now make plans to say goodbye to Pastor Sherry at the end of June and Gidget at the end of August, it feels like a lot. And it is.

Having said that, let me say that just about the time I have felt that a loss of a volunteer or staff person would have catastrophic consequences – God provided. There was still the missing of the person or gifts, but God provided through God’s Holy Spirit a fresh wind of hope and anticipation. A brilliant Russian electric violin player was not replaced with another person with those same gifts; another gifted person or persons were revealed. I will still not forget the sound of the electric violin playing with the band because I had never heard that soaring combination before.  Maybe I’ll get that chance again – or it might be something completely different.

There is hope in transition when God does a new thing – the challenge is whether we recognize it or not. God’s word is timeless:

  • Jeremiah 29:11 - I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
  • Joshua 1:9 - Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
  • Isaiah 43:19 - See I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.
  • Finally – Philippians 4:6-8, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things."

So join me in gratitude – sending off our gifted ones with love and thanksgiving, and being a part of another new chapter. This season is like Christmas. Gifts will be unfolding before us – and we are so very blessed to see what God has in mind.

With love and grace,
Pastor Cathy