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Lara Musser Gritter: Dawning of a new day

By Lara Musser Gritter

Recently, I saw a video of health care workers dancing in line to get the new COVID vaccine. I started crying.

Yes, I’m bursting with pregnancy hormones, but I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a wave of hope and relief at seeing these images. After months of sitting in the darkness of upheaval, fear, sacrifice and loss, a new day just might actually be dawning. Sure, there are months to go before the majority of the population will be vaccinated and months before we can pack up all of our masks and extra bottles of hand sanitizer. But still, after all we have been through, having something to truly hope for feels like seeing first light after a dark and treacherous night.

It is this feeling of dawn that I am meditating on as we approach a new year. After 10 months of pandemic I see the concept of salvation in a more intimate way. I now understand that I cannot save myself, that I need rescuing, that this salvation is my first need above all others. Like the disciples certain that their boat was sinking on a stormy night, I have found myself crying out, “Lord, save me!”

What we learn in scripture is that saving us is God’s top priority. God stops at nothing to save God’s beloved people from their brokenness, sin and suffering. For the arrival of the vaccine, God is working through thousands of people: doctors, scientists, bureaucrats, truck drivers, factory workers, hospital administrators, business people, pharmacists and more. All year, we have been waiting for a light. As a new year approaches, we now see the light dawning in a very real way.

Yet, while our bodies see the dawning of salvation from this pandemic, let us allow the lessons of this season to sink into us spiritually. Someday, concepts like social distancing, aerosols and viral loads will fade into our memory, but the wounds of sin and suffering will remain. Our social fabric will still need mending, the wound of racism will still need tending and our lives will still need the never-ending grace of God.

Ultimately, Jesus is our salvation. He is the light of the world, the one who shines in the darkness, and our brokenness, sin and suffering cannot overcome it.

May you and your family dance this New Year at the dawning of a new day.

Rev. Lara Musser Gritter is co-pastor First Presbyterian Church in Salisbury. 

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