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A letter to the parish about the winter storm

February 16, 2021

Dear Good Shepherd,

The ongoing winter storm has reminded us of the fragility of life. Our faith reminds us that God is present in every moment even the difficulties and struggles of this week.

I hope you are safe and warm. Please know that each of you is in my prayers. We have been reaching out to you through our shepherd circles. I encourage you to check in with those in your shepherd circle as well as with those around you. In moments like these, we remember how interdependent we all are. We depend on the help and support of others. Should you find yourself in a difficult situation and have a specific need (firewood, food, transportation), please email me directly at channing@gsaustin.org, and I will do my best to help.

As we begin Lent tomorrow with our Ash Wednesday services, I will be reminding us of our interdependence – we depend on one another and on the earth that we share. As our Ash Wednesday liturgy reminds us, we are dust and to dust we shall return. We are of the earth. Adam, the name of the first human being, comes from the Hebrew word for dirt. I hope our service will encourage the importance of strong relationships within this community and with our planet. Times like these remind us of the blessings we are to one another.

As we live through these uncertain times, I offer this prayer for your consideration. May it be a source of strength and hope for you.

O God, who dost lead us by the way of the wilderness toward uncertain difficulties and futures of which we cannot be certain, help us to trust always in Thee. When we are fearful and inclined to go back, give us the courage to stand still and then go forward knowing that the strength we need is the strength that will be given. Amen.

May the blessing of God’s peace and assurance give you strength and encourage your faith to meet the challenges we face together.

God’s peace,

The Rev. Channing Smith, Rector

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