1st Letter From Bishop's Deputy
Let us rise up and build
Very Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Y. Lartey
All members of NAMD
“Let us arise and build” (Neh.2: 18)
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9: 6)
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose birth over 2000 years ago we celebrate at this time. It is with joy and a deep sense of gratitude to the God of all grace that I bring you these Christmas greetings. We serve a God who is never far away but always close at hand. God longs to come near and to fellowship with His people. We are created for fellowship with God, and at Christmastime we celebrate the God who takes upon himself human flesh, who tabernacles with His Creation, who for our sakes becomes poor, humbles himself and takes the form of our humanity, the form of a servant. “This, this is the God we adore, our faithful, unchangeable Friend; whose love is as great as His power, and neither knows measure nor end” (MHB 69, v.1)
Many have experienced 2020 as a disastrous year in which the global coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc and mayhem on the lives of ordinary people the world over. It is a demographic fact that the USA has been the worst hit. We are living through perhaps the worst destruction that has been visited upon the world. Yet, in the midst of the pain, death and devastation we, as the people called Methodists, have a sure and steadfast hope. “We have an anchor that keeps the soul, steadfast and sure while the billows roll; Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love” (MHB 634). Because of the love of God made manifest in the birth of Jesus Christ we can stand in the midst of the devastation knowing that our hope is built of nothing else. Whatever our lot thou hast taught us to know, it is well with our souls.
Because of the birth of Jesus Christ, we know that our God is with us. God will never leave us nor forsake us. Because of the birth of Jesus Christ, we are assured that we are not forgotten. Instead, we know we are loved with an infinite love. God goes to the ultimate end to assure us of his love for us.
The Methodist Church, Ghana, our church, also speaks to us this season and says to us in the North America Mission Diocese, that we are loved, never forgotten or forsaken. Instead, our church says to us, “You belong”, “You are a part of a family” You are one with us all.”
In the face of the devastation and destruction of 2020, then, “Let us rise up and build”! These words are taken from the mouths of the exiles and the locals of Jerusalem who heard the accounts of God’s hand with Nehemiah who had returned from exile in Persia to help rebuild the broken walls of his capital city. Their response to the grace of God and the destruction of their land was a resounding, “Let us rise up and build”! Let us then, like them, in the face of the destruction of Covid-19 and the good news of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, rise up and build our societies, our circuits and our diocese. Let each one of us spare no effort to work to do our part in strengthening our church, the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
May God through this Christmas season of rest, refreshment and relaxation, fill us with the grace and energy to rise up and build for the Kingdom of God.
A Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year to us all.
Very Rev Prof. Emmanuel Y. Lartey
Presiding Bishop’s Deputy