What Is Your Focus?

Listen to and sing UMH 298 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (HAMBURG), a classic hymn and tune which has been in Methodist hymnals for more than a century.  Try UMH 299 When I Survey the Wondrous Cross to the beautiful ROCKINGHAM tune.  The ROCKINGHAM predates the HAMBURG tune.  The UMH 349 Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus was first published in England and inspired by Isaiah 45:22.  It is the chorus to the hymn The Heavenly Vision.
 
       What is the focus that gives direction to your life?  For educators, it seems to be the S.O.L. results, for students the S.A.T. scores, for investors the Dow Jones Average or the NASDAQ ratings, for business executives the “bottom line,” for coaches the final score, and for race car drivers the finish line.
       Lent comes each year to challenge us as to what is the primary focus in our lives.  We are nearing the end of Lent; this Sunday April 5th is Palm Sunday and we turn our eyes to Jesus’ Passion.  I remember the first time I watched The Passion of Christ.  It wrecked me.  It stayed with me for days.  It also made me realize that I had put more time and focus than necessary on things other than on Christ and my personal relationship with Him and what He did for all of us. I was reminded just how intensely God loves us and how persistent God can be about wanting to have a people who are devoted to Him.  God is serious about this. This God will have a family and a people, even if the price is quite high. 
       We live in a time of strict social distancing (to use Governor Northam’s well-chosen words in his Executive Order 53).  It would not surprise me if this is to be the new normal for April and May.
I know it is difficult for you, particularly for those who live alone.  My heart goes out to those whose work has stopped and are dealing with loss of income.  The reality of this must create feelings of anxiety and uncertainty for the present and future. Some of you are not able to see and hold your loved ones. I pray that God will uphold you in these days and lead you in the direction that will be best for you and your family.  Our faith provides the basis of strength and hope for the future.
       I also encourage each of you to find some good guide for your prayer and meditation as we move toward Easter.  Practice those disciplines that will help you to truly focus on Jesus.  Check out our Facebook page, church web site, weekly emails, video messages and worship.       
       The chorus from our hymnal is so true!
                Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face,
                And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.
       It is good to be with you in ministry.  Thank you for your faithful financial support of Bethany, for watching over one another in love, and your prayers for one another and our world. – Pastor Mike