Why, my soul, are you downcast?
At the end of the movie Neverending Story, spoiler alert, the screen is dark. The faces of the Empress and Bastian are slowly lit by a glow from the hand of the Empress.
“What is that?” Bastian inquires.
“One grain of sand. It is all that remains of my vast empire,” the Empress replies.
Bastian: “Fantasia has totally disappeared ?”
Bastian: “Then everything has been in vain.”
Empress: “No, it hasn't. Fantasia can arise in you. In your dreams and wishes Bastian.”
The Empress then places the grain of sand into Bastian’s hand and says, “What are you going to wish for?”1
While this is the illusionary ending to fantasy story, I can’t help but feel a little like we have been under a great darkness that has devoured our attention, energy, and vitality for the last eight months. I also was not prepared for the way I felt when Pfizer announced that its vaccine looked like it was going to be 90% effective. I kept passing that news along until my daughter told me that I had mentioned it to her, several times already. I explained that it was my age, but more likely it was that I really want it to be true. When Dr. Fauci said that he was optimistic, I was like “Dude, really? Isn’t that an understatement?” And of course, it was not. I don’t have the grain sand in my hand yet, but I can feel it coming, I want to start wishing into reality.
I find myself dreaming more of how we are going to celebrate our renewed connection as a community, and as a church. I really want to renew those partnerships that have been so key to United Methodist Church of Hyde Park in the past, and start to talk about how we are going to mark where we have been and reemphasize the lessons about love, connection, and hope that we have learned on the journey that will have taken us over a year. I think that 2021 is going to be phenomenal not only for the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park, but for our world. We have looked our mortality in the eye, found out that we are more vulnerable and dependent than ever we thought, had to keep each other safe and connected, and now we stand on the threshold of that grain of sand from which a new reality will emerge. A reality that, with God’s grace and Christ’s love will be more than a new normal. May we never take the life about us for granted again.
We yet have the Winter to go through, but why should our soul be downcast? We know that Spring is coming and there is promise and hope in the God of renewal and redemption that new things will emerge. The United Methodist Church of Hyde Park has a valuable mission to continue in this world, and through it we show our love and commitment to the values of Jesus Christ who is the very revelation of the heart of God. When we once more are able to be fully human through the community we share, it will not be a wish that brings our own ideas into reality, but through the church, the embodied hope of God’s kingdom come to earth even as it is in heaven, a kingdom to which all things are possible. But we need your continued support.
Your support during this critical time is necessary for what we can do in the future. The budget of the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park is in decent shape at the end of 2020. Your faithfulness is the reason: you heard, heeded, and took seriously your commitment to this body of Christ and I am awed at your loyalty. We will be entering 2021 having lost some of our long-time members. Retirement, death, and relocation have all taken their toll on our membership. We still have another 4 years on our million-dollar mortgage. The members of your Church Council, the chairpersons of all the many ministries and commissions in the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park, have worked hard to keep costs down, make cuts where possible, and to be good stewards of all the resources we have been entrusted with.
As you consider your ability to support the programs and the ministries of the United Methodist Church of Hyde Park, please be in prayer. Remember that we have and will use all that God has entrusted to our keeping for God’s glory and for building up the greater Hyde Park community. We introduced many innovative programs to deal with COVID-19, and we have not retired a single program that now might sit idle until we get together again. Our strength for tomorrow depends upon your courageous projected ability to give today. Take a moment to fill out the enclosed card or visit the following URL that goes only and directly to our Financial Secretary:
Thank you all for your time and consideration. Also, thank you for being a part of the real and true never ending story, a love story, God’s love story for humanity through Jesus Christ. Blessings!
Yours in Christ,
1 The Neverending Story [Motion picture]. (1985). St. Louis: Swank.
Click below to go to the giving card online link: