Show Us the Way . . . Snowbound

Beloved in Christ,

I hope this newsletter finds you safe, warm, nourished, and about the good work in whatever way that work presents itself at this hour. I am humbled, grateful, and deeply proud of the Laurel Heights congregation and staff—all of you who are busy today seeing who needs what. There’s an old saying among upper Midwest farmers, who on a forbiddingly cold and wintery day would look out the window and say, “Nothing out today but crows and Methodists.”

Methodists, mobilize in all the ways you can. Pray, check on neighbors, kin, church kin, strangers. And reach out if you need a hand yourself with warmth, water, or other provisions. The church office is receiving calls and emails, and the staff and lay leadership are ready to assist in every way possible through this precarious time.

This is an Ash Wednesday like no other. A year like no other surrounds this first day of Lent, and a storm like no other has enfolded us in its icy grip to usher us into the sacred season. The good news of the gospel emerges today as it does on every other Ash Wednesday—and every other day besides, and even in the night: God is faithful, and will provide. The cross of Jesus is the emblem of God’s self-giving love, and becomes our source of power and purpose in the most arduous times.

John Greenleaf Whittier’s epic poem, “Snowbound” has come to mind frequently during our “snowbound” week, but not only for the vividly appropriate image the title brings to mind. At the heart of the poem is a promise that has carried me through many “snowbound” moments in my faith journey: And can it be with so much lost of life and love to still live on? Yet life is ever Lord of death, and love can never lose its own.

I consider Whittier’s words a paraphrase of Romans 8: Neither death, nor life (nor COVID-19, nor snowstorms ) . . . nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I hope to share Ash Wednesday services with you today or later this week (see inset for details), and I look forward to the Lenten journey before us. Our theme and prayer for the season has this week become even more appropriate and poignant than ever: Show us the way . . .

Grace and peace.

Paul Escamilla