From the desk of the African Descent Coordinator – April 2020

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Last week Wanda and I attended my father’s final interment at Arlington National Cemetery, where he received a full military funeral ceremony for his service and rank as a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force. So many memories flooded my mind as any of us who experience the death of a loved one. I greatly appreciated the phone calls and prayers that I received before I left and even during my stay in Virginia.

But I did not leave the specter of death behind me. For this virus not only causes physical death but it zaps our emotional strength and plays adversary to our faith in God. At this time in our nation it is difficult to see signs of hope that this new way of living, isolation and separation, will be over anytime soon. Our power and control is limited to personal hygiene and self-quarantine.

But I do believe that the prophet Habakkuk has a word of defiant, unrelenting hope for us in these dismal circumstances in which we live. Let me remind you that Habakkuk knows a little something about negative and fearful situations. Habakkuk understands that destruction by Babylon is imminent and that he can do nothing to stop it. God’s people have turned their back on Him and deserve the pending punishment. However Habakkuk refuses to join the lament of his fellow citizens during this scary environment. He does something strange that I find hard to believe: Habakkuk rejoices! He rejoices about his relationship with the Lord, his Savior.

“Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.” Habakkuk 3:17-19

Maybe not every day during this pandemic but on some days – we as children of God, must have the same response as Habakkuk with no present help or hope in sight. Let us rejoice as we pray, sing, shout and dance-remembering the awesome God of our salvation.

Keep the Faith,

Pastor James Phillips
African Descent Coordinator 


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