We have been dealt a blow; there is no denying it. Here on our
stretch of the Jersey Shore, life as we’ve known it is gone. It was altered
on one single day at the end of October. In the two months that have
passed, some of the debris is gone and the shock has worn off, but we
are left with the undeniable reality that things are different. We had
hoped we would return to “normal” as quickly as possible, but it is all too
obvious that our new normal looks nothing like the old standard. This is
hard. And the road before us is long and it looks rocky and uneven. The
rest of the nation looks at us and says: “They’ve been dealt a harsh
blow.” No one would blame us, if we were to despair.
But that’s not what I see when I look at our town. I see weariness,
but not despair. Many faces are set with determination and resolve. And
when I look into eyes of our congregation, many of you look tired, but I
don’t see defeat. In fact, I see glints of hope; hope that has its source in
the light of Jesus Christ.
Our church has responded to this tragedy much as our forefathers
in the faith responded when they were faced with struggles and trials: by
recalling God’s faithfulness. We have remembered that God has gifted
us with warmth and love and graciousness, and we are building upon
those strengths. We are using the gift of hospitality to bring comfort and
hope to our neighbors with simple meals of hot soup and bag lunches
delivered to their door. Not only that, but brothers and sisters in Christ
are partnering with us with generous gifts of time, talents and resources.
Together, we are shining a Light into the darkened storm-strewn streets
of Tuckerton, Little Egg, Manahawkin and LBI, and we are helping to
The way ahead is long and our path is uncertain, but the Light of
the World goes before us, showing us the way to be bearers of Light to
our town. May God bless to us the strength and perseverance to
continue to shine his Light in the year ahead.
With love in Christ,