I guess you could say I am stubborn about being stubborn. There are simply some aspects of my character I refuse to change. I dig in my heels and say that no matter what happens to me I am not going to change certain aspects of my character. I refuse to stop loving. I refuse to stop being compassionate. I refuse to be overcome by evil. I refuse to let victory lead to gloating and a sense of superiority, or to let defeat lead to humiliation and a sense of inferiority. I want the steadfast love of God to be the image that I genuinely reflect to the world.

For all the work that has been put into the elections and all the hopes that have been placed in candidates, we need to realize that there is an influence that we all need to have in the world. The leaders we elected should not change us from showing the steadfast love of God. It is not enough to say that the government should show more compassion if we don’t do so ourselves. Whether or not the government reflects our values should not change our character. Steadfast love does not change with political climates or society’s changing weather.

In the next few months, Pioneer will be making decisions that will affect how we go forward. The budget, the pledges, and the nominations – these are all important. I pray that they all reflect a character of love and compassion that is steadfast. A basic character will be reflected in the image that is presented to the world. I am not talking about the visuals. I am talking about the image of our God of steadfast love. The community will see actions but they will also understand the basic character that produces those actions.

When I look at the lives of great people of faith throughout time and throughout the world, they all seem to have had times when they needed to retreat for a time. When they were feeling overwhelmed they went to the desert, the mountains, in caves, under trees, private rooms, or (not by choice) jail cells. They came out of those places with a more refined character. It is okay to need that time. It is not okay to use that time to turn away from loving others.

This is the time of year when we think about gratitude. For what are we thankful? Often it is a person who has shown the steadfast love of God to us. I pray that you all know that love and are able to reflect that love to the world as we all go forward with God as our traveling companion.

The steadfast love of God endures forever.

Pastor Phil