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“May you be strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience while joyfully giving thanks…” Colossians 1:11-12

In the reading from the book of Colossians this Sunday, the Apostle Paul is reassuring the church that they can be confident in the fact that Christ is in all things and all will be well. Sometimes that’s really hard to believe when you are in the midst of something very difficult. And sometimes we need to reflect and look back at the past to see that Christ was with us through it all, and we were strengthened as we endured challenges.

Our theme in the months of October and November has been one powerful word, Gratitude. Parker Palmer has looked at our Covid struggles and found new learning in endurance and giving thanks. What lessons have you learned these last few years?

Among the lessons, Palmer says, “I’m learning more about some personal dynamics. I’m re-fighting old inner wars between fear and faith, self-reliance, and seeking help. As some of the fallout from this crisis comes my way, instead of asking “Why me?” I’m relearning to ask, “Why not me?" I’m learning more about the good hearts of people who reach out in ways that reflect our shared humanity. I'm touched by those who ask, “How are you doing? Anyway, I can help?” and clearly want to know.”

Palmer adds, “I’m learning more about millions of people around the planet who are in a “high-risk category” every day of their lives — not because of age or health, but because of race, religion, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or poverty. They live in non-stop pandemics of racism, sexism, nationalism, homophobia, structural economic inequality, and armed conflict. I now have a tiny window to glimpse a bit of their experience for a little while. May I learn all I can, and may my learning stick.”

“May you be made strong,” the letter to the Colossians encourages. I think that we all have found added strength in Covid’s challenges and I hope that it has given you a sense of gratitude for what you have endured. Christ is in all. And all will be well. Amen.