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Each Monday I send an email to about a dozen people who are praying for me daily as I have transitioned and continue to raise support to serve through Baltimore Antioch Leadership Movement (BALM.) Today I decided to use some of my thoughts from this past Monday in my weekly encouragement to the Grace family. These thoughts are still so very pertinent for me, and I imagine for you, as we navigate life here in early June of 2020.

But first let me as usual share the link for this coming Sunday’s Zoom worship and fellowship experience. Pray for me as I continue to prepare a word from John 19.

In thinking about last week I remember the simple words of author Charles Dickens who in A Tale of Two Cities said “it was the best of time, it was the worst of times.”…
“It was the best of times…”

After 109 days in several Richmond hospitals and care facilities my mom came home to my sister’s. These 2 images from the transport van to the dinner table say it all! Please continue to pray for her. I also learned good news about my friend Ernest. (He is a fellow pastor who was told 3 weeks ago he only had a few days to live, yet now he has a hopeful prognosis). God is answering prayers.

 “It was the worst of times…”

I am having flashbacks to 1968. When as teenagers we saw the nation seemingly falling apart. We survived. But survival is not automatic. Please pray for BALM as we took the lead in coordinating a Zoom gathering Tuesday evening for the seminary students. We are challenged with the need to bring words of challenge, grace and pastoral wisdom to these students as they process what is happening and prepare to serve in the post-Covid 19, post-George Floyd and post-riots world. (We are also coordinating discussions with other pastors and leaders this week and in the weeks to come.)

I can’t help but end with the fantastic lyrics from my youth. It was 50 years ago. But sounds like this week’s headlines…

Inner City Blues – Marvin Gaye

Dah, dah, dah, dah

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
‘Fore we see it you take it

Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

This ain’t livin’, this ain’t livin’
No, no baby, this ain’t livin’
No, no, no
Inflation no chance

To increase finance
Bills pile up sky high
Send that boy off to die
Make me wanna holler

The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life

Hang ups, let downs
Bad breaks, set backs

Natural fact is
I can’t pay my taxes
Oh, make me wanna holler
And throw up both my hands

Yeah, it makes me wanna holler…

Brothers and sisters of Grace Church, the good news is that we can holla to the One who promises to hear the cries of those who call on His name! Let us walk in confidence, joy and hope that He is still our Mighty King who turns seemingly certain defeat into ultimate victory.

Pastor Stan