Dear New Philadelphia Family,
Recently I have been thinking a lot about our church sign. You know the electronic sign that is on Country Club Road and shares information about the goings on at New Philadelphia. Since I live right next door, that sign is a part of my daily life. I can’t leave my house without seeing it. And like so many things that are part of our daily lives, familiarity can cause us to overlook it.
But lately, I have been contemplating ways that we can use the sign to share, not so much information, but encouragement and comfort and support, those things that our church is all about. One of the things that we have already done, thanks to a suggestion from Emily McNeil, was to share a message thanking all of those health care workers, first responders, and essential workers who are making our lives safer.
I have been wondering what could be another message to remind people what New Philadelphia is all about. And then, early this week, I was walking over to church and noticed that the sign looked different. It was a bright yellow with three simple words YOU ARE LOVED! I saw it and thought “That is perfect.” And I knew that it was literally a sign from God, a sign that God is at work.
It wasn’t something that I had asked Rachel to put on the sign. And I don’t know if I would have, I would have probably gone with something more wordy. Yet God knew what message our church needed to convey to our neighbors. And God used Rachel to share that message. That’s how God works.
This is really what our church is all about. It is conveying to each other and to all the simple, yet profoundly important, fact that we are loved. We are loved by God and we are loved by each other. And we are called to share that love with our neighbors.
That is the message that God is using us to share with this world. It is what we are all about. As we go about living life in these unusual and unprecedented times, as we are surrounded by uncertainty and doubt and fear, let us remember that we are loved. You are loved. And let us remind our neighbors that they are loved.
Last night, during our Zoom fellowship time, Michael Crane recalled a song that says it perfectly:
O I love you with the love of the Lord,
Yes, I love you with the love of the Lord,
I can see in you the glory of my God,
and I love you with the love of the Lord.
Do you know how it lifts me as I sing this song to you?
Like a sunrise in my heart I feel God’s love come shining through,
and it’s lighting up a blessing that I’ve never known before,
Here beside me, a reflection, of the Savior I adore.
And I love you with the love of the Lord
May we continue to love each other with the love of the Lord. YOU ARE LOVED!