The Salem Tidings

From the Pastor’s Desk

A Note from Pastor Paola:

Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign.
Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son,
and shall name him Immanuel, God WITH Us.
  (Isaiah 7:14)
Happy New Year Salem! 
Let us begin together this New Year with the Good News we received at Christmas: from now on God is with us; not above us, not even around us but with us. We are not alone anymore. 
This reminds me of one of my favorite movies, Forrest Gump. Do you remember the heart breaking scene when, as a child, Forrest goes on the school bus and no one lets him sit next to them?  In the end, a little girl named Jenny offers him a seat next to her. She was like an angel to him. From that day on, Forrest was not alone anymore; Jenny was with him.
One of the big themes throughout the Old Testament is God promising, “I will be with you”. On Christmas, Immanuel, God with us, enters into the world in the form of a little baby. Jesus grew up to be a man who was with the sinners, the prostitutes, beggars, foreigners, and soldiers and enemies. Jesus’ signature word is “with”. They put him on a cross  because he was with the wrong crowd, but they couldn’t take him away. Jesus’ last words were: “I will be with you until the end of time”. A small group of people took to heart that promise and went on to create the community of Christ, a place where no one should be left alone anymore.
This is our calling as a church before anything else: we become Immanuel, God with each of us, God with those who suffer in our community, God with those are lonely and are looking for a faith family.
When tragedy strikes, someone is alone, feels rejected, battles an illness, loses a loved one, or loses a job… nobody stands alone here. This is family, and Jesus is right here in the middle of it. This is the Message of Christmas, the Good News that we just received: God with us. 
May this New Year be for us, our Salem family, the WITH year.
Pastor Paola