Greetings in the peace of Christ to you!

Dear Congregation,

Greetings in the peace of Christ to you!

I have noticed that it has become a standard greeting nowadays, to ask the other person, “How are you?” after saying “hi” or “hello”. Inevitably she/he responds, “Fine. How are you?”. I have been a little resistant to this practice myself because to me the question/answer pattern has become very superficial, almost rote.

I simply think that this relatively new form of greeting has lost meaning. Does the questioner really want to know how the other person is? Is the one being greeted honestly telling how he/she is?

The truth of the matter is that in today’s world, many people are not “Fine”. An article in an NPR article states that a recent study by the American Psychological Association found that over 80% of American people report feeling stressed, the highest number ever in the fifteen years that this survey has been conducted. We were stressed from two years of pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine put our stress level over the top. News images of the suffering there make us sick at heart. Inflation is a worry. The threat of nuclear warfare notches people’s stress up to an unprecedented high. “It’s like being kicked when you’re down,” says Dr. Kali Cyrus, Johns Hopkins University psychiatrist.

And so what are we to do as Christians? In addition to acting in the ways possible to us—praying, donating to relief organizations, contacting government representatives, demonstrating—to name some, there is this suggestion made by Dr. Clint McCann from Eden Theological Seminary. He suggests praying Psalm 23 every day. (It’s not just for funerals!) In its familiar words we are reminded that God is with us every day. We are not alone but are cared for by our Good Shepherd in all circumstances.

I think this is a wonderful suggestion and I plan to do just that. I invite you to join me and rest in the peace of green pastures, still waters, and the assurance that God is with us always. I’ve added two familiar translations of Psalm 23. It doesn’t matter which translation you use—the poetic King James or the New Revised Standard Version, or another. Let us pray together and center ourselves in the promises of God.

God Bless You!

In Christ’s love,

Pastor Candy

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