January 8th, 2021

            “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God ... Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” – Romans 13:1, 7 

My Dear Bethesda Church Family & Friends; a good Friday afternoon to you!

As I type these words, I’m hoping and praying for your health, happiness, safety, and security and that of your loved ones, even as disturbing events happen around us.

Several vaccines have come online and others are on the way, but COVID continues to run rampant, especially among our most vulnerable populations, and the vaccine will have come too late for too many, sadly, with hundreds of thousands now dead in North America and many more likely to come before this plague has passed.

For weeks, political unrest was fomented by the sitting president of our big brother to the south, claiming the recent presidential election had been “stolen” from him and his supporters. The unrest boiled over this week into mayhem – even insurrection – as the United States Capitol was overrun, as both houses of Congress met in session and the vice president presided over the certification of results of the recent election, the violent mob just having been incited personally by the sitting president. We now know at least five persons died as a direct result, one a Capitol Hill police officer.

Over the last several Sundays, we’ve been emphasizing in our ministries of worship and Word the vital truth that our hope – our Biblical-Christian hope – is not ever secured in earthly circumstances but only in the One True and Living God who sent His Son to give Himself up for us, raised Him up for our eternal justification, and sent us the Holy Spirit for our eternal life and joy (among other things, such as love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control).

On Sunday, January 24th, I’ll preach on Romans 13:1-7, an oft-referred to but little understood passage in its contemporary application. It sets godly parameters for our relationship – Christians and the Church – with the government under which God has placed us by His sovereign goodness and grace. This will not be a ‘political speech’ per se; it will be a coherent and relevant interpretation of the Biblical text for our day.

I don’t know about you, but I find myself, from time-to-time, oscillating between the poles of indifference and overreaction, but I know neither leads us to an accurate or helpful application of God’s truth. I hope you’ll be listening; let’s pray for each other!

Finally, we held up finalization and distribution of this Congregational Letter, until we’d heard from the Province on any potential adjustments to COVID restrictions going forward: Current Provincial restrictions remain in place for at least two more weeks – through Friday, January 22nd – when another assessment will be made.

Consequently, we will keep on keeping on as we have been doing – hopefully, to the glory of God and for the good of His people. ...

Grace to you and yours, and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Pastor Mark

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