Words from Bishop Grant Hagiya
AUMC Friends, I want to share with you an excerpt from Bishop, Grant Hagiya’s briefing, written to all of our California Pacific churches this week as a message of inspiration. May we accept his invitation to be thankful, even in these times.
Pastor James Dollins
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4: 4-7
As Christians, we can proudly proclaim: “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say Rejoice!” This is far from an empty platitude – It stems from deep within our souls, and we must proclaim it to all the world.
As bad as the year 2020 has been, I am so thankful for all that God has given me. I am thankful and rejoice in all of you: To our clergy who have remained faithful and tirelessly adapted when our worships are shut down…To our laity who have worked side by side with our clergy in making church happen in a new way, and continuing to support the church with their service, tithes, and offerings…To our churches who have hung on and remained faithful when all the external indicators have looked as though we might have to shut our doors for good.
As Paul reminds us: The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
I find myself praying every day this very prayer: In Thanksgiving to all of you who have remained faithful and given your all to the church. Truly, the Lord is near to each and every one of us, and we have nothing to fear or despair over.
For inspiration this week, I was very moved by the New York Times article that invited readers to send in six words that made them thankful in 2020. Here is a few of them:
My choir still meets on Zoom.
Mom, 87, rocking pretty, pandemic ponytail.
Teenage son still likes to snuggle.
No better excuse to avoid in-laws.
I am thankful for Pastor Bob.
I am bored, but not dead.
Ambulance took him. He came home.
I held my dying husband’s hand.
Our kids, after my wife died.
Rediscovering myself by reading the Bible.
Healthcare workers. Healthcare workers. Healthcare workers.
Pandemic baby after years of trying.
Tried. Failed. Failed worse. Kept going.
Once again, my Black vote matters.
Aunt’s Jell-O salad not gonna happen.
Thankful for sweet potato pie, y’all.
Fell in love at age 75.
There’s really more kindness than hate.
Truly, let’s all be the Hope!
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop