May 15, 2020
Dear Peachtree Road Family,
I hope you are doing well. Earlier this week I was doing some reading in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s excellent book entitled Leadership in Turbulent Times. In it she highlights the leadership styles of four American Presidents who led the country through difficult days: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. You may remember the oft-quoted words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt from his first inaugural address during the Great Depression:
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”
Goodwin reminds us that FDR had an uncanny ability to see opportunities for advancement in even the most trying of circumstances. He invited Americans to seize the opportunity and pivot toward the future and convert retreat into advance.
I like that! It is easy to see the current pandemic and its economic fallout as a great interruption to be endured and then forgotten. Instead, in the spirit of FDR, I hope we will see these days as a great opportunity to pivot toward a renewed vision – to turn retreat into advance! Our church leaders have spent the last few weeks planning for the future and our plan for re-opening the church building for ministry and worship. Our Administrative Board will be meeting by Zoom on Monday evening to consider that plan, and I encourage you to pray for us as we seek to make wise decisions.
On Sunday, we will continue with our series of messages on the Ten Commandments entitled “Thunder on the Mountain.” This week we will focus upon the fourth commandment:
“Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy…”
We will discover how this verse really is central to our spiritual lives as we seek to discover balance. I hope you will join us online as we learn anew what it means to rest and remember.
Speaking of Sunday, this week in worship we will take time to honor our church’s Graduating High School Seniors. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused graduation from high school to be very different for the class of 2020. With schools closed, students have missed their final season of spring sports, proms, and honors days as well as public baccalaureate and graduation ceremonies. We want all of our graduating seniors to know how proud we are of them. Therefore, at the close of the online service on Sunday, we will offer a video tribute to each student and offer a blessing. I hope you will join me as we, along with their parents, grandparents, and loved ones, rejoice with them.
Finally, I wanted to make you aware of a new resource for these trying times. Ron Greer, director of the Peachtree Road Pastoral Counseling Center, has developed a video entitled “Knowing God’s Grace while Sheltering-in-Place.” Sometimes I feel like I’m frozen to a sheer mountain wall, paralyzed and unable to make a move. Ron Greer is that wise counselor who helps coach me forward: “Now put your left hand here…Lift your right foot to there…Now reach up with your right hand…” Perhaps you have had a feeling like that in recent weeks. I encourage you to follow this link to hear Ron’s words of comfort and assurance. You will find his words comforting and his advice like a life-line. Also, please feel free to share this link with a friend who may be in need.
Thank you for your prayers, regular presence in worship, generous giving, and acts of kindness and service in the name of Christ.
I look forward to being with you online Sunday!