LOOK UP AND PRAY!
It was my earnest hope and prayer that 2021 would be so much different from 2020, but from all indications and appearances my dreams of such a year seem to be quickly fading. Apart from my own minor health challenges, I have already been apprised of the deaths of five precious individuals since this year began, including the most unexpected death of our African Presbyter, Bishop Stephen Masilela, whom we knew so well and loved so dearly. These deaths have really traumatized us and made us reflect again on how fragile we all are and how short our time on this planet is.
Today, only the ninth day of the New Year and so much has already transpired in all of our private worlds and lives to shake and rock us to the very core of our beings. Who could ever forget, Wednesday the sixth day of January when rioters and insurrectionists inspired by the rhetoric of a sitting president stormed the Capitol building to delay certification of the electoral vote and overturn the outcome of a legitimately held national election. Many sat in disbelief and in extreme shock as they saw the unfolding of these gruesome events in our nation’s capital. Could this really be happening in what is deemed the greatest nation of modern times and to think that this is only the second week of 2021. No wonder some are already despairing.
However, I remain hopeful, instinctively bless ed by the reassuring words of the master in reference to the “eschaton” – the doctrine of the last things and happenings. Very calmly Jesus instructs His pilgrim church in reference to the disastrous progression of things in the last days. He cautions, “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28. In the previous verses he gives a litany of calamitous last-days manifestations, preceding His magnificent and glorious appearance. He thoroughly forewarns and alerts that there shall be turbulence and disorder of indescribable proportions from the heavenlies to the earth -realm. Nevertheless Jesus’ solemn admonition to the church remains ". . . look up and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh" (v28). Your deliverance, your salvation, your rescue draws nigh.
Therefore, in spite of all the turmoil, unrest, pain, heartache, fear and perplexity, the voice of heaven can still be heard if we would listen – look up! We plain refuse to be deterred or distracted! We stay calm! We look heavenward! We keep on praying! Yes we pray! We keep praying! We keep on looking for breakthrough and revival! We remain undistracted, untrammeled and undefeated, fully knowing that even in these last and unchartered times, we have an anchor that keeps the soul, stedfast and sure while the billows roll….
Thank God, the beginning of 2021, like 2020, found us on our knees praying. We intend to pray this year through! Like the prophets of old, we pray. Like our forbears in the book of Acts we pray. We so believe and know that our God is the prayer-answering God of the ages. We shall never stop! We look up and pray! We stay calm and pray! We carry on and pray! In spite of it all we pray and remain hopeful!
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Bishop — Northeast Region
January 2, 2021
In collaboration with our District Overseers, the Church of God of Prophecy submits to the wisdom of continuing to ‘Shelter in Place’ for the safety and protection of the flock. This is to be observed until further notice and the present virus is better contained. Should the need arise to meet, we are advised to meet in groups of no more than 10, while we strictly observe the protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks and aggressive sanitizing of our hands and surfaces frequently touched.
Please let us patiently observe these practices to keep each other safe and alive. We are reminded that we are indeed our brother’s keeper. Stay home! Stay Healthy! Stay Hopeful! We shall soon get through this! Premature re-openings of our churches seem not to be the wisest way to go at this point. Let us continue to pray, caring for each other and staying connected.
Leroy V. Greenaway
Regional Presiding Bishop — Northeast Region