The United Methodist Church of Enfield
Saturday, January 16, 2021
Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.

 

 

January 1, 2021
 
Beloved in Christ: 
 
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
 
Epiphany is the manifestation of God’s power in the midst of history.  It is not a one-time happening but an ongoing activity of the divine in the midst of creation.  Psalm 8 tells of the Creator crowning mortals with glory and honor, of making them little less than God.  Paul reminds the people of Corinth, “. . . there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit . . . To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good”. (I Corinthians 12:4,7). The power and the gifts are given to make manifest the Spirit of God.  
 
I write this letter as joyful news is breaking that the first batch of a Coronavirus vaccine is ready for distribution. Thanks be to God for researchers and scientists who worked tirelessly and with great dedication to develop the vaccine, those who took proper care and precautions to ensure that the vaccine is safe, those who will transport it across the country and the globe, those who will administer it, and the countless others who are making this miracle possible. 
 
God is manifested in the concrete, the physical, the material. God appears when a variety of gifts are exercised in concert with others for the common good.  It is for this purpose that God made mortals little less than God.  
 
Is the ability to stop a ravaging virus not a manifestation of God’s divine activity?  Is the creation of a safe vaccine not the result of each one exercising the Spirit’s gifts for the common good?  Is the caring and the giving and the sacrifice of front line workers whom we have all witnessed not an Epiphany of God in our midst? 
 
I have reflected on the many services, past and present, that have contributed to the development of a body of knowledge, to the technology, and to the expertise that made the creation and distribution of a vaccine possible.
 
One small example is the story of Frederick W. Smith as found at
https://www.fedex.com/en-us/about/history.html.  “In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper that invented an industry and changed what’s possible. In the paper, he laid out the logistical challenges facing pioneering firms in the information technology industry. Most airfreight shippers relied on passenger route systems, but those didn’t make economic sense for urgent shipments, Smith wrote.  He proposed a system specifically designed to accommodate time-sensitive shipments such as medicine, computer parts, and electronics. Smith’s professor apparently didn’t see the revolutionary implications of his thesis, and the paper received just an average grade.” 
Today we realize how important Smith’s single contribution is for the distribution of the newly approved vaccine.
 
This year marks the 117th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ invention of the airplane. As you probably know, their clergy father discouraged his sons from wasting time on this invention.  All these years later, the aerospace industry is crucial to delivering vaccines in vast numbers around the globe. 
 
Shortly we will be celebrating Epiphany.  After a difficult year, we may be stepping into 2021 with skepticism, fear, and anxiety.  However, we can enter the New Year with hope and optimism if we remember that we are precious in the sight of the One who created us, that we are each given gifts of the Spirit for the common good, and that we are called to exercise those gifts in ways that manifest the Divine presence.
 
Prema joins me in wishing you and your loved ones a Happy and Blessed New Year!
 
In Christ's love,
 
Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar 
 
 Prayer 
Holy God,
who created us and 
crowned us with glory and honor,
who made us in your image,
who gave us gifts of the Spirit—
we have come this far by faith
and by gifts of many who have 
employed them for the common good.  
We are thankful!
 
Merciful God, 
for the times we withhold the
gifts you have given to each of us
for thinking of ourselves as powerless  
and for abdicating our responsibility 
as co-creators with you,
forgive us.
 
Majestic God, enfold us in your love;
Fill us with the compassion of Christ;
Move us with the mighty wind of the Holy Spirit!
Amen.