calendar September 21, 2020 in Bishop, Bishop messages

A Word of Encouragement from Bishop Davenport

Greetings beloved. If I could sing, I would sing I woke up this morning with my mind stayed on Jesus, which I did. However, I also had you on my mind, and I just wanted to pause today just to say, God bless you. And I am so grateful for each and every one of you.

In the midst of everything that’s going on on the planet, I want you to be encouraged. Hold on, do not fear. You know, I understand that in scripture, 366 times those words are penned, “Do not fear” — one for every day of the year, and then also for leap year. And for that, I am so grateful.

You know, God is our very present help in the time of trouble. God is our refuge and our strength, and we hold on to that. Do not fear. It tells us in scripture, God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. So today I just encourage you to hold on. And I also celebrate you.

 

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I celebrate with a grateful heart, Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod, that you have pushed the button up to how do we serve and worship in a pandemic, and you have taken it to a whole other level. And for that, I am grateful. I’m grateful to see so many wonderful worship services. The word of God is proclaimed in powerful ways. And I am grateful for that, indoor and outdoor.

I’m also grateful that our service ministries continue. People are continually being fed and cared for. People experiencing homelessness are not walking this journey alone. People who have been evicted are not alone. I am grateful to know without a shadow of a doubt that our roster of ministers continue to reach out to all of the communities of faith via text, via telephone calls, some are penning notes, and not just the worship service on Sunday. And they continue to be out heading up our feeding ministries. I am so grateful for the priesthood of all believers, and Lou Farrel and The Welcome Bread, 31,000 sandwiches have been made and shared without the community.

And God is doing what God does, and that’s multiplying, just like with the fishes and loaves. It was offered up and now other people are taking it upon themselves to make sure that their communities that are experiencing poverty and hunger are being fed. And for that, I am so grateful.

We are called within our baptism, called within our baptismal vows, that we are to be a light to those in darkness. We are called to be salt to those in tasteless situations. And beloved, today I celebrate you. I honor you, because you are doing just those things.

One of my favorite scriptures is “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge God, and God will direct your path.” And so that is my word of encouragement for us, that we would live in faith, looking to God, not paying attention to the distractors of the world, but holding on to the fact that God loves us. And God wants us to love and serve our neighbors. That God wants us to be a witness in the midst of a pandemic, in the midst of the mess. That God, the one we serve, continually creates miracles. And for that, I give thanks.

So God bless you as you continue to do what you do. We are people of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. We can’t see it right now, but trust me, there is strength in the struggle. We will get through this. We will get through the other side. We will be stronger together. As we continually work, building up the Kingdom of God, one small act of kindness at a time, building the beloved community, because we are the Lutheran tribe of the Jesus movement. And we believe in the one who can do all things but fail, and that is Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Amen, God bless you all.

The Rev. Patricia A. Davenport
Bishop