“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning – the sixth day. Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.” (Genesis 1:31; 2:1)
Earth Day, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
As if we did not have enough to lament and grieve; our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Nova Scotia and those many families and friends immersed in sorrow after this week’s episode of violence. Many may be wondering just how much can we bear through our own present isolation, insecurity, loss and fear that lurks every time we are reminded of the pandemic that haunts us.
As I drove into the church parking lot this morning, the outside sign caught my attention; ‘Services Cancelled’. It had slipped my attention until now that we had failed to ‘upgrade’ that news with better news, with real Good News. The sign will from now on announce “Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” (If someone has a better ‘slogan’, let me know.) This little reminder showed me how easy it is to accept the present ‘reality’ and forget the greater, life changing and sustaining Reality that upholds us in the light of each and every tragedy. God promised to be with us to the end of the age; to be with us through suffering and pain, even unto death. And He always keeps his promises.
Part of me wants to encourage each and every one to be strong, to be courageous at a time like this. And yet, we need to be honest to our self and stop occasionally. We need to allow ourselves to ‘melt down’ somewhat – perhaps a lot (but not for too long!) To take the time to acknowledge our sense of weakness, helplessness, vulnerability and fear. Then, to allow our self to cry out, to lament for these circumstances beyond our control – just as the bible often illustrates for God’s people; How Long, O Lord, how long, and how deep must we go in this present time? Continue to intercede for every care for others, but don’t neglect or deny your own needs too.
If nothing more, it will draw us into the Lord’s presence where we can unburden ourselves of the questions that for right now, we have no answers – and fall silent before our God and wait upon His presence and word. ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ God knows all; much more than we can know or imagine. In His time, let him show us his answers and the good He will bring about for those who will trust him now.
I would like to commend you to reflect on Dan Hardock’s sermon this past Sunday ( yes, you can replay it). The significance of our Lord breathing on his disciples with the breath of new life. And consider the title Jesus gave to all those (including us today) who have not seen yet believe – blessed. How do you think of the very breath of life today, and know you are blessed by the Lord.
At such times I’m also drawn to remember the natural world, God’s Creation that precedes all of human presence and will endure, perhaps in spite of, all human activity. I believe God ‘planted’ a little bit of eternity (Himself) in all our hearts – that we might see his handiwork and dream, imagine, and know hope in the darkest hours, as well as the joy of life to the full.
The rising of the sun, earlier now each day, lengthening days, the fattening buds on the trees, the green tips of new growth emerging from what was until recently frozen, snow covered earth. Those seeds, those bulbs you planted last Fall come to life. Life as God ordained it. Everywhere reminders that God uses to remind us of his very presence, faithfulness, love and power. Of course it always points us to and reminds us of new life through the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.
Perhaps this week plant some seeds, water that dried our pot plant, take a cutting; if all else fails watch the grass grow - and be reminded that God is with us, knows all that makes our hearts ache, all that hurts – may he bring you a refreshing sense of His peace and love; and the strength to go on. (The Energizer Bunny is a poor substitute for the source of all Real power, glory, truth and light.)
“The Lord Bess you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn His face towards you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:22f)
After the Christmass morning service, the baby Jesus was missing from the manger. The rector was searching for him when a little girl arrived with a doll’s stroller and started lifting the baby Jesus out and putting him back into the manger saying, “I told you if I got a stroller for Christmass you would be the first to ride in it!”