Keep the Faith

A Message from Minnesota Conference Minister Rev. Shari Prestemon

Listen to her message here.

Hebrews 11 reminds us that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Our faith is surely being called upon now in this continuing time of such uncertainty and unrest.

Now in this eighth month of the COVID pandemic in the United States, we know that over 210,000 lives have perished from the virus and there are 40,000 new infections every day.

Our nation’s reckoning with racial inequities and widespread injustice is ongoing, calling each of us to prayerful reflection and renewed commitment to overturning centuries-long systems that have harmed and oppressed our siblings in communities of color.

Election season rages around us, further widening the divisions among us and leaving us all on edge.

And for many, daily life is far from normal…Parents are juggling work and at-home schooling with their children, the struggling economy leaves many jobs at risk, illness and loss is now a painful part of many of our stories.  Many of us are separated from our families and friends due to public health precautions. And our church life has also been deeply impacted over these many months, a challenge to every pastor and congregational leader and to our chaplains and ministers in all the places they serve.

Some days it feels as if everything is unraveling all around us.

In the midst of all of this my message to you today is a relatively simple one: keep the faith.

Our faith story as testified to in our sacred scriptures reminds us that God is always making a way out of no way, blazing a path through despair back to hope. Sometimes it took a long time. There were often numerous twists and turns. And often our ancestors in faith created their own obstacles to healing and new life. And yet – and yet – at the end of every winding journey was the fulfillment of God’s promises and the emergence of new possibility.

It may be hard to see some days the path God is carving out for us in this moment. All of the frustration, anger, anxiety, and weariness we feel is real. The range of emotions we are all experiencing is profound.

Yet even on our worst days – when we cannot see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel – I trust in this: God is near. God is working it out…somehow, some way. And God calls to each of us to do our part on this journey.

  • Follow safe public health protocols in your home life and in your church.
  • Be willing to have brave, respectful conversations about the hard issues that divide us.
  • Participate in this election & make sure you vote.
  • Extend generous heaps of love and mercy and grace to others, remembering that every person is carrying an extra load of stress and worry right now.
  • Practice those same qualities in your congregational life, ensuring that the division all around us isn’t allowed to seep into our church life, too. Offer an alternative witness to the world in all you do and say that counters the hate and hopelessness around us.
  • And most of all: keep the faith. Persevere in hope. As we read in Hebrews: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not yet seen. Hold on to that faith now. And may the grace and peace of Christ attend you in all this.

May God bless you and keep you, today and always.

© Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ | 2023