A New Year’s Letter from Pastor Joe

In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life…In Noah’s six hundred first year…              Genesis 7:11, 8:13

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

Happy New Year!

Northern Parula Wood Warbler

This year a “Birds of North America Calendar” will be gracing my office wall.  Each month features a bird family.  January features parulidae or new world warblers.  Forty warblers are identified for January.  Maybe 2019 will be the year I will be able to identify all forty in the field!

As we begin a new year, we ponder what events will unfold.

In his 600th year, Noah experienced the great flood.  And he spent his whole 600th year on the ark—obedient to God’s will and discerning God’s ongoing activity in creation.  After sending out the raven once and the dove twice, Noah discerned that the flood waters had dried up.  For that year, Noah cooperated with God to bring about salvation to all the creation.  Without Noah and his family, the animals and humanity would have drowned in the flood.

Certainly, God can act without the assent of humanity, but the scriptures witness to a God who partners with humanity to save the creation from evil and violence.  This is most notable in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.  In Jesus, the divine human partnership comes to full fruition.  Divine and human will became one.

Regardless of what events unfold this year, may we like Noah and Jesus be attuned to the divine will of bringing salvation to the creation.  Noah built the ark.  Jesus called and taught disciples.

Christ’s Servant,

Rev. Joseph A. Johnson