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[March 2021] Pastoral Message

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

Dear People of Centenary:

It has been one year since the start of the first global pandemic of the 21st century. So much has changed in our world since then, and we will never go back “to the way things were” once we are through this experience (which may very well be another year at this point!).

However, there is a silver lining that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic: it has brought the future to our doorsteps and given us opportunities to change in ways we may have been considering but never got around to doing, or simply never thought of doing. Personally, I have done a lot of reflecting on my life and re-evaluation of it in the process. I am reminded of a saying by Soren Kierkegard, the 19th century Danish philosopher and Christian theologian who said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.”

We begin our second year of this pandemic in the season of Lent. This forty-day period before Easter is a time of self-examination and spiritual reflection. We recall the Gospel story of Jesus being sent into the wilderness for 40 days, being tempted by Satan but being ministered to by angels (Mark 1:9-15). Even Jesus needed time to reflect on his life in order to gather strength for the journey that lay before him.

As we reflect on where we have been throughout the past year, and more importantly where we are going in the time ahead of us, let us not forget that we don’t take our journeys alone, but with God, who through Jesus Christ will guide us through all of our wilderness experiences.

An ancient African proverb says: “If you want to travel fast, go alone. If you want to travel far, go together.”

During this Lenten season, may your spiritual travels take you far into the recesses of your faith as God leads you into a new day that is dawning before us. While life as we used to know it will never be the same, the new life that awaits us will reveal God’s faithfulness and steadfast love for all of God’s people, especially during this historic pandemic moment.

Grace and Peace,

Rev. Mark M. Nakagawa

West District Superintendent

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