January 7, 2021
I won't mince words. This has been a very difficult week.
This week, we saw new records for deaths from Covid-19 and for hospitalizations due to Covid-19. The current epicenter of this pandemic is just over the hill from us, in Los Angeles. Also, this week, we saw something most, if not all, of us never thought we would see. Our nation’s capital was forcefully taken over and occupied. Though order was restored eventually, it was a jarring moment that none will soon forget.
In worship this week, we focus on Jesus' statement "I am the Light of the World." How do we reflect the light of Jesus in all of this? I wish I had a clear answer to that question, but I don't. No one does. No one has been through these circumstances. We are all learning as we go.
While I don't have clear answers, there are some things I do know. God has called us to StoneBridge and to Simi Valley. Unless you are packing your bags to move to Washington, D.C., God has not called you to D.C. It is easy for national politics to take over our thoughts and conversations. And, while it is important to be engaged, we also must make sure we don't make an idol out of our politics. Our mission is to reach the lost with Jesus, to make disciples and to send them out. God has placed us here in Simi Valley to pursue that mission.
Those of us called to StoneBridge were not called here because we have the same political views. We have a diverse community with a variety of views represented. That is something beautiful about this congregation.
I believe that the more we pursue the mission God has given us here in Simi Valley, the better chance we have of reflecting the light of Jesus, which shines brighter than any of our political problems, however serious those are. A divided nation needs churches united in Jesus. And, who knows? As we pursue our mission, maybe we can learn from one another and grow - not despite our differences, but because of them.
What I know most is that if we don't move forward in prayer, we won't move forward at all. I encourage you, therefore, to reach out to someone in our congregation and pray with them, at a safe distance or through technology. Pray for our elected leaders, even the ones you disagree with. Especially the ones you disagree with. Pray for our front-line healthcare workers who are going through something few of us can imagine, as they put themselves at risk to save lives. And pray for our nation, that God would heal our land of strife, division and disease.
Pastor Jon Saur
Senior Pastor/Head of Staff