I live close to Shop-Rite and can see their parking lot from my window. It is convenient for me for quick grocery trips or full orders.

When a storm is forecast, the lots are filled to capacity as people rush to get the essential groceries to get them through the bad weather. Groceries, snow shovels and salt become the staples of our lives. A practice that has been passed on through generations. When we hear of storm brewing, we prepare. (Better add candles and batteries to our list!)

In Matthew 7:24, Jesus tells his disciples how to prepare for the storms in their life. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew ad beat against that house; yet it did not fall because it had its foundation on the rock.” Jesus goes on to tell them the practices of the one who builds his house on sand.

2020 was one of those years that challenged us in many ways. Warnings of the pandemic started early in 2020 and by early spring it was spreading across the U.S.  Zoom and Facebook Live became our ‘go to’ platforms and we continued worshipping, meeting, staying informed and even playing remotely. Together, we discovered that we had the essentials to get through this storm, together: Faith, Hope, and Love. We simply went to our spiritual pantry and affirmed that our supply would be sufficient for the storm.

Our faith gave us the ability to welcome technology that would continue our weekly services. In the beginning, we could not imagine not being in the church building for the great holy days of the church. Nevertheless, we were.  Our faith did not disappoint. Hope and trust in God guided us.  We discovered anew that our foundation was strong and we had everything we needed to not only survive but also flourish.

Looking back, in the midst of the Pandemic, we worshipped, baptized babies, met online in small groups, elected officers, and comforted those who grieved. We spaced out our parking lots for outdoor worship, and summer Trivia contests. We greeted each other with masks on our faces, and six or more feet apart. We all wore the same cologne and after-shave called “Hand Sanitizer”.

Love was at our foundation and we looked out for one another.  We reached out by phone and made meals for those who lived alone, or were ill.  Love filled our hearts as we cared for one another.

Hopefully, we have made it through the worst of the pandemic and 2021 will be kinder to us.  Let us continue to put into practice what we have learned through and with each other, continue to build on our foundation so we are always prepared for a storm; and may we always remember:  “Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love – and the greatest of these is love.”  1 Corinthians 13:13