November 2021

Dear Friends in Christ,

Let me begin by expressing gratitude to you all for the expressions of kindness rendered me recently. To tell you the truth, though, I was a little surprised. I thought clergy appreciation month meant that the clergy should be reminded to be appreciative for his being put up with by the parish.

Honestly, it probably ought to be both; a pastor and a parish get along, like a married couple, only insofar as there is some putting up with, from both sides, of the other. Much grace is required.

Graciousness is an element that our society has been lacking as of late. Everyone seems to be much less tolerant and more irritable.

I’m sure the damn-panic had a lot to do with this. But you would suppose that all of that irritability might have crested awhile back, when the general alarm was higher and, since then, subsided. But the lack of neighborliness and patience doesn’t seem to be declining too quickly. The world seems to still be on edge. And it feels like the crankiness is here to stay, at least for a while.

I think that something dramatic did happen to our national psyche, or our collective consciousness. The physical strain of the pandemic was far less significant than the psychological blow that COVID inflicted. It really shouldn’t have been news to anyone, but apparently it was–human being are vulnerable in this world. And, I’ve got news for you–science isn’t going to save you. So, those whose credo is “I believe in science” have just seen their false god fall over. It’s like in 1 Samuel, when the Philistines brought the captured ark of the covenant, that instrument bearing the presence of Jehovah, into the temple of their god, Dagon. The statue of Dagon fell over on its face. They popped Dagon back up. But he fell over again, and he kept falling over. And then he fell over and broke. And there Dagon lay in pieces. so it goes with all idols and false gods over time.

Our present crisis is like that. We find our securities undermined. We become anxious. Then we become irritable. The good new is, knowing what ails us, we can try to be consciously active in providing the salve of the gospel and applying it to our circumstances.

And, as always, the world begins with being aware of our own selves; and our own proclivity toward irritability and impatience; and our own failure to be gracious where we should.

The ability to achieve all of that stems from allowing your confidence to reside in your Lord; being secure in the resurrection rather than the avoidance of death. The gospel grants you the unique opportunity to be an uncommon and much-needed injection of graciousness where it is lacking.

In Christ,

Pastor Picard