Ephesians is Paul’s letter of encouragement to the church of Ephesus. Paul expects God’s followers to live in His plan, “as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth,” which is what every Christian is working towards and strives to live in this world. Unity is where Jesus’ love is and is what we rely on. We are all different, and we unite not for being evil but in the body of Christ. Unity defines the Amazing Grace United Church. In 2021, it showed that we joined not because we’re all the same but because of Jesus.
The difference among members of the Amazing Grace United Church is very prominent. We vary in age, cultural background, language and perception towards worship. It isn’t easy to find a place where we meet in common with the accumulation of contrasts. But there is one, and it is Jesus’ love. Despite the significant distinctions, we’re willing to commit and accept each other to follow Christ, and we are eager to let the love of Christ change us for more acceptance. It’s like the senior members in the church are constantly reminding us, “It depends on God, not the people”, “Only by focusing on Jesus can we go on together”. Because this world is divided, demons try to break us apart by disunity. But we can resist the attack of the evil in this broken world and stand strong thanks to God’s kindness and goodwill.
2021 for us in Vancouver was very challenging. Besides lockdowns due to the pandemic that had changed our lives, BC had broken the record of the hottest temperature in summer, which caused wildfires and air pollution and road closure that was unprecedented. In November, the floods had crippled the traffic flow in and out of Vancouver, which severely damaged the streets and lives of the affected areas and the local and national economy, leaving Vancouver a helpless island. Visited by a rare winter storm in December, Vancouver was hit by heavy snows and a record-smashing low temperature, falling off its reputation of mild weather and the best place to live. Not to mention the price jumps and economic recession, 2021 was indeed an exciting year.
However, God also revealed His love in all those challenges. The Amazing Grace United Church did not fail due to the difficult times but thrived in the grace of God. We cherish and are more willing to support everyone. We have seen our brothers and sisters taking care of each other amid illness and weakness and helping each other out during the charity sale at the end of the year.
We are all wise, for we’ve chosen God over the world. We are also fortunate because we selected to replace “competing with one another” with “unity in love”. We understand that the will of the Lord is kindness and cherish each other’s company in unity even in the age of evil. Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalm 103:5) We are thankful for the days in the past, and in the days to come, may the Lord lead us forward.