March 25 Devotional Message:
From Darkness Into the Light

Dear Members & Friends of Our Drakestown Church Family,

These are indeed unprecedented times through which we are living. Never in most of our lives have we experienced a crisis of this magnitude, which rapidly is transforming our lives, often in unwelcome ways. Many of us now have to shelter in place and find our daily lives confined and restricted. Many others have been furloughed or have lost their jobs and now worry how they will survive this time without a steady source of income. Those of us who are blessed to still be working have to face the fear of placing ourselves at risk each day. Others have, tragically, experienced the deaths or severe illness of family members and friends. Many have not been able to hold funerals and grieve their loved ones’ deaths publicly within the comforting rituals of their faith traditions. As the number of active Coronavirus cases increases, as the death toll rises and as social distancing rules tighten and business closures expand, our world becomes smaller, more fragile, and increasingly frightening. It’s scary to see that the staples of life have become scarce and what was a vibrant economy seem imperiled. It’s hard to face this new reality. At times like these, it is easy to feel anxious and distracted. It’s also easy to lose hope, give in to our fears and to feel disconnected from each other and from God. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the seemingly impenetrable darkness around us.

 Yet, the core of our faith has always been that we have the reassurance that we are not alone and need not be afraid, because God goes with us through the darkness. In the Ancient Hebrew Scriptures, the 23rd psalm begins with the faith declaration, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 18:28 proclaims, “It is You who light my lamp; the LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.” In our Christian scriptures, the Gospel of John proclaims that Jesus is the light of God’s love shining in the darkness of our world; a light of hope and promise that the reality of the darkness has not extinguished. John 1:4-5 professes, In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” Likewise, the words of 2 Corinthians 4:6 affirm,For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.and I John 1:5 proclaims, God is light and in [God] there is no darkness at all.” Therefore, our faith tradition, at its core, sees God as the light which splits our darkness. Therein rests our hope! Covering our eyes and pretending that God will make everything alright is not faith, but escapism. Faith acknowledges the reality of the darkness and boldly perseveres through it, trusting that God goes with us as our light that pierces the darkness and lights our way, especially, when the terrain we traverse is rough.

Keep the faith and nurture hope!

Pastor John



“O God, Our Help in Ages Past” 

 O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!
Under the shadow of Thy throne, still may we dwell secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone, and our defense is sure.
Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame,
From everlasting, Thou art God, to endless years the same.
O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come;
Be thou our guide while life shall last and our eternal home.

 Dear members and friends within our Drakestown Church family,

Sadly, the Coronavirus continues to spread rapidly in our state, nation and world. The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) guidelines now recommend that all groups of ten persons or more be cancelled for a minimum least fourteen days and meetings of larger groups suspended for several months. This recommendation includes all churches and houses of worship. Therefore, our worship services and programs are cancelled until the CDC indicates that it is safe for smaller groups to resume meeting. All AA and OA meetings that use Friendship Hall are also cancelled until further notice.

 We are living in unprecedented and unnerving times. The aggressive spread of the pathogen is truly frightening. The loss of our daily activities is disorienting. The growing business closures and social distancing rules increasingly isolate us and make our communities look like ghost-towns. Likewise, the precipitous drop of the stock market and scarcity of cleaning supplies and other daily essentials is terrifying. This rapidly changing environment has pushed us into uncharted territory. Our world has been turned upside down!

Now, more than ever, it is especially important to take care of ourselves and each other, and to celebrate the hope and strength we have through faith to preserve, and even thrive, in the face of struggle and trials. We are a people of faith, who trust that God will see us through this uncertain time together, for as the psalmist proclaimed, “God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble. That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart.” (Psalm 46:1-2a CEB).  We find this sentiment also expressed in the words of the beloved hymn, the first verse of which, I believe, also serves as a simple but powerful prayer for our time, “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come; Our shelter from the stormy blast, and our eternal home!” I invite you to read the entire hymn above and see what speaks to you.

If you wish to talk with me for any reason, please do not hesitate to contact me on my cellphone number at (973) 349-9202 or by email at jdcallanan@gmail.com.

Please watch our website or your email for updated Lenten worship materials.

I wish you all blessings for peace and perseverance based on the knowledge that God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble.

Stay Safe and Keep the faith!

Pastor John


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