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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Turn to Jesus as the savior of all

Across the Pastor’s Desk by the Rev. George Marin

In over 30 years of ministry, I have heard it said many times that weddings and funerals bring out the best and the worst in people. Well, apparently so do global pandemics. We are quickly approaching the one-year anniversary of the first reported COVID case in Freeborn County. I can assure you that not one person I can think of ever wanted this to enter the boundaries of our community. Maybe a good majority of us prayed that, if it were possible, “Let this cup pass from us.” Nonetheless, COVID arrived as an unwelcome guest to many homes. We commemorate the lives of those who have passed. And, we express our gratitude to our tremendous health care and frontline workers.

George Marin

Over the past year, PJ and I, along with our colleagues, have done our very best to serve people in the midst of this storm — this storm that came down upon us like a great squall from out of nowhere. At first, many people did not really know how to react. Fear, worry, anxiety and panic hit many so severely. Sheltering in place, social distancing and masks were not part of our normal routines, but quickly became our new norm. A two-week lockdown to flatten the curve eventually became months of our lives.

The mandated health care measures seemed to affect people in the best and worst ways; as a result, we as a society, have witnessed the best and worst of people’s behaviors. The effects on small businesses alone were devastating for many, as well as loss of precious lives, isolation from loved ones and friends, and our dear elders in care facilities — so many were hurt deeply. We have witnessed great controversial divides over all of this and, to add salt to the wound, we, as a nation, endured a brutally ugly campaign season.

Yet, in the midst of all this, there have been so many positives that have come about. Many families had increased quality time together; people took up new hobbies; many new gardens were planted; and, many seemed to gain a brand new appreciation and gratefulness for life, in general. In many ways, we as a local community pulled together to help one another. This has been inspiring to witness in Albert Lea.

This all reminds me of the story of Jesus in the boat with his disciples on the Sea of Galilee. I am sure the disciples thought it would be business as usual, until the great storm came upon them. The storm was so great that it rattled even the most seasoned fisherman on the team, insomuch that they thought they would die, and even questioned whether or not Jesus cared that they would perish. They became angry with Jesus that he had found rest in the midst of the storm. They just could not understand how anyone could be peaceful in the midst of such trouble. Mar 4:35-41.

What they failed to realize was that Jesus was God made manifest in the flesh. He was the one, of whom the ancient prophet Isaiah had foretold, who would be called the Prince of Peace. He was the word of the father right in their midst. When they awoke Jesus, he simply stepped on to the bow of the vessel and said, “Peace, be still.” The disciples were amazed at his power that even the storm and the winds obeyed him.

I pray that as we continue to wait out this storm that has come upon us, that God will grant you his peace. I pray that you will be able to turn your eyes upon Jesus and see him for who he really is, the savior of all humankind. I pray that you will remember the declaration of the angels upon the night of his birth, “Peace on earth, good will to all people.” I pray that you will find his peace and be able to live peaceably with all around you, and that the best in us will be displayed in the days ahead. I love you — I’m in your corner.

George Marin is a pastor at Grace Christian Church in Albert Lea.

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