I hope and pray you are having a happy new year on this Epiphany. On this day, we commemorate the arrival of the magi, guided by the star and the Jewish scriptures, at the home of Jesus in Nazareth. It is another account of the coming of the Christ being revealed to unexpected parties. Through the gifts of the magi, Jesus is identified as the divine ruler of all creation, God’s anointed high priest, and the suffering servant who will remain faithful to God, even unto death. We find in Jesus, as identified by the magi, the life-giving response to the death-dealing spiritual and tangible powers that be. It is the hope of the light of the Christ shining into the darkness of our collective despair.
It is this hope that leads us each year, on the Sunday after Epiphany, which we observe as Baptism of the Lord Sunday, to reaffirm our commitment to the baptimal covenant as we seek to share the good news of the light of the world with our neighbors. We invite you to join us on Sunday in this reaffirmation. As God remains steadfastly in covenant with us, may we renew our covenant with God.
As we invite you to do so, I must announce that the CHUMC Reopening Team met last night and decided we will continue to worship online only for the time being.
It is now projected that, given the current situation, this January and February could be the worst period of this pandemic in the United States, the state of Texas, Dallas county, and our community. There is also another, more infectious, strain spreading in our country. County officials are strongly encouraging us to exercise the utmost caution through wearing masks, social distancing, avoid crowds, forego get togethers, and wash our hands frequently.
We know this will be received with disappointment, as it is disappointing for us as well. However, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, a fellow United Methodist, assures us, “It is always darkest before the dawn, these first two months will be difficult, but my hope is that by the end of February, things will begin to improve as more and more people get vaccinated.” Given the current rapidly increasing spread of COVID-19 and the once-again increasing strain facing our Dallas County ICUs (as of today only 11 ICU beds are available in the county), this is the best way we can care for one another and love our neighbors.
With that in mind, we have some information that will help you be prepared for our baptismal reaffirmation on this Baptism of the Lord Sunday. As we have done with Holy Communion, we will remember our baptism and reaffirm our covenant virtually. Since we will not be in-person and able to approach the baptismal font to remember our baptism, you will need a bowl of water before you so you may use that water in a symbolic ways to remember your baptism by touching the water with your fingers and touching your moistened finger to your forehead. You can have this prepared when the service begins and we will observe the baptismal reaffirmation following the sermon.
As we await the dawn, we also await the distribution of the vaccine. Dallas County provides information on the vaccine, the process, and how to register to get the vaccine when it is available to your tier based on your work, your age, or your underlying conditions. You can find that information following this link:
Coronavirus (COVID-19) | Vaccine (dallascounty.org)
The availability of the vaccine is quite limited, but many of our members are in Tier 1B, so registering as soon as possible could be of great benefit.
Again, we know the current situation brings great disappointment. We thank you for your understanding as we seek to love and all our neighbors in this pandemic.
Grace and peace,
Rev. J.D. Allen