God Is Still Speaking

Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Senior Minister Blog

The new year has begun with a series of disappointments and delays. I had been looking forward to a special midwinter event in Texas for over a year and today it was converted to a “virtual.” As it sunk in that the relational aspect of the event had vanished, I felt hollow. Many families are again juggling work while dealing with quarantined kids. Courtrooms are delaying trials because someone on the jury is ill. And we continue to read the doomsday news about the fractured soul of our nation. It leaves us feeling raw.

So many of our scriptures were written in the midst of times like these. For example, Psalm 34 says, “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” And Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” I find it helpful to read scripture sometimes not as a lesson but as poetry. Reading one Psalm every day can give words to the range of human emotions and capture our longing for God’s presence. Or reading one of the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, just to hear again how Jesus stepped into the challenges of real life amongst the people.

I also hear God speaking in the stories of people around me. Recently I read an article by Sarah Maslin Nir about how some people have exhibited amazing resilience during the pandemic. One story that inspired me was about a 35 year old man who was working at a brewery but got laid off during the initial shut down. It gave him time to reassess and he decided to go to college and study microbiology so he could help other people. He realized that when he told his grandkids how he survived the pandemic he didn’t want to tell him that he sat home alone getting drunk.

It seems to me that in the middle of these chapters where we feel raw, both individually and collectively, that we become more aware of the immeasurable goodness and undeserved joy of life as well. And so even as we lament our worry and sorrow we also rise up with gratitude. Yesterday a friend called and over the phone we each recited for one another all that is so good in our lives: especially friends, family, church. Perhaps this is the reason we gather every seven days—on live stream or in person —because together we sense the God of all creation who promises that a new day is coming “where there will be no more crying or mourning or pain.” (Revelation 21)

Grace and Peace,

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