A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Out Of My Mind – September 2020

Let me tell you about 1968, the year I turned 20. In January, the U.S.S. Pueblo was captured by the North Koreans. In April, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. In June Bobby Kennedy was assassinated. With August came the tumultuous Democrat National Convention in my home town with a mayor telling the police “Shoot to kill!” With November came the election of Richard Nixon to the Presidency of the United States. Through it all, anti-war demonstrations and riots. And besides, that dreadful year would never end. 1969 could never be rung in, because Guy Lombardo had died, and what is New Year’s Eve without his orchestra playing “Auld Lang Syne”?

Yes, that was 52 years ago. And we thought then that things were as bad as they could get for the country. It seemed, society was falling apart and nothing could ever save it. But, of course, we were wrong. The radicals of the 60s became parents and stock brokers. The fire-breathing radicals became doctors, ministers and teachers. Somehow the confusion and chaos of the decade worked its way through the people and the country and we came out, if not better, at least intact.

I’m convinced the year 2020 is certain to be remembered with the same amazement, surprise and sometimes dread. Even today, anyone could create a list of outlandish or astonishing events that have transpired in 2020. Obviously the one reality that supersedes all the others is Covid 19, the pandemic, the lock down and the ensuing developments. We at First-Calvary Baptist Church have known what that means.

And yet, personally I’m as optimistic as ever that God has not turned his back on us or walked away from his people. The national, state and even local situations may become even more confused, more rancorous, more troublesome. But the message of the Bible and of God’s people through centuries has always been, “Fear not. I am with you.” We should cling to that promise. The disciples were perfectly safe as long as Jesus was in the boat with them.

New thought: I write this on August 5, so some matters may change even before you read this. The biggest hope is that somehow we will be able to gather again on Sunday mornings as an entire congregation. In the mean time we will keep the three “services” going: Worship at Home, Worship in the Sanctuary, and Worship on Line. I want to thank the Trustees for doing the ground work to open the sanctuary as soon as they did, and for the Deacons in preparing the space for worship each Sunday.

Perhaps by our October Open Door we’ll have a clearer sense of where we are going. In the meantime, stay in touch with each other and keep praying that God will bring us together again, soon.

Pastor Rob Branch, interim