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The Message of Hope in a Time of Pandemic by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

Dear CME Family:

As often as I have seen the beginning of that favored Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” it wasn’t until last night (Christmas Eve) that I put together the year the angel’s (Clarence) views of George Bailey’s life began – 1918 – and the significance of that year to the telegram young George read on the counter of his employer, Mr. Gower. The telegram told his employer (Mr. Gower) that his son had died of influenza.

1918. It was the time the “flu epidemic” was ravaging the nation. It killed more than 650,000 thousand persons in the United States, and an estimated 50 million across the world. Forward to 2020. The present COVID-19 pandemic, still raging, has killed more than 329,000 in the nation, and more than 1.7 million worldwide.

So, back to the movie’s scene. Imagine this irony: the “druggist” who was taking care of others with his prescriptions had lost his own son to the epidemic for which there were no vaccines! For the first time last night, I got that point! So, 12-year-old George Bailey, knowing his boss had made an innocent mistake in his moments of inexplicable grief, saved someone else from a faulty prescription that might have ended in death.

Today, many of us are witnesses to many persons’ critical needs for hope. Someone in a hospital bed is using a ventilator, hoping. Someone is grieving great loss because of death. Someone is struggling, not knowing how long the family’s food will last. Another is in an ambiguous place, debating whether to confront the abuse and leave or to suffer quietly. Someone else is overwhelmed with guilt from failings of the past.

Most of us have been or are in more than one of those places. We know the need of a Savior: One to make us whole, One to heal our wounds, One to move us forward. Listen: “ … a Savior has been born to you …(Luke 2:11, NIV).

Many of us have discovered the role of Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God and Son of Man, birthed in Bethlehem. Jesus has posited in us the love and mercy, the mirror and image of God – that we might see our hope in God, and that we may see the hope God brings reflected in and for our own lives.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow, Far as the curse is found

Amidst this time of great sufferings, let us live in the hope Jesus brings!

Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick

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