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Dear Members and Friends, I plan to use 1 Corinthians 13 for a Bible theme for our Celebration/Revival as we come out of the pandemic.  The committee is eagerly embracing creative ideas to make this a grand celebration.  We don’t know for sure when it will be, but we all agree we can hardly wait. 1 Corinthians 13 is called the “love chapter,” as you know.  I want to focus on the last verse of the chapter, “Now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. I have to repeat here that the theme is love.  I chose this passage however because in it Paul says the three great things are faith, hope and love. We often repeat in prayer, sermon and hymn that the defining characteristic of the church is love.  At the Last Supper Jesus gave a new commandment – “that you love one another.” Love is great but faith and hope make the list.  We are all concerned what will happen to the church after the pandemic.  Will we be strong, or will the time away from one another have weakened the church? Facing these concerns, we need faith and hope.  God will never let his church go.  “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16).  You can’t get a better guarantee for the future than that! In G. K. Chesterton’s book, “The Everlasting Man,” he writes that nothing in all the history of thew world has endured like Christianity.  Oh yes, he points out, many times people have foretold the demise of the church only to watch as it come roaring back.  It always has and always will because the Holy Spirit builds and prospers the church.  Our role is to continue the work of the gospel, pray and then uphold one another in faith and hope. Please have that!  Please have faith and hope as we live together as the church in love.

 Please pray with me.“Almighty God, you called the church into being and commanded us to love and commissioned us to make disciples.  You know we worry about the church’s future.  Push out our worry and fill the spot with faith and hope.  Help us to trust you and live in love.  Help us to know Jesus, follow Jesus and serve others in Jesus’ name.  Amen.”