On February 15th… we had no idea.
On February 15th we didn’t know that one month later, our world would be forever changed.
We didn’t know that we would become fluent in a new language with words and phrases
like pandemic, COVID-19, bubble, pod, flattening the curve, quarantine, pivot, Zoom, virtual worship, shelter-at-home, essential business, CDC, PPP, and the ever popular… you’re muted, unmute yourself.
On February 15th, we didn’t know that one month later,
for the sake of safety, to do no harm, and to show the greatest love for our neighbor,
our worship together… would need to happen… apart.
We didn’t know that we would become street preachers and parking lot worshipers.
We had no idea that Facebook, YouTube, and Zoom would become our gathering places and our connecting spaces.
We didn’t know the losses would be so great.
We didn’t know the grief would be so real.
We didn’t know that people we care about
would actually choose to leave.
We didn’t know disagreements would be allowed to have so much power,
in friendships… in families… in God’s church.
We didn’t know there would be so many things we couldn’t safely talk about,
and so many things we could no longer dare not talk about.
On February 15th, we didn’t know.
But Church… God did.
The Psalmist reminds us in Psalm 139:8
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there.
Whatever the future holds, whether it is the future of our next breath, one month from now,
one year from now, or 50 years from now, the good news is, God is already there!
God is there – (BREATHE) – we know it to be true.
God is here in this present moment as we read these words
and God is there in our future moments undefined by words yet spoken:
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O LORD, you know it completely. Psalm 139:4
I pray this brings you comfort. It does me.
The comfort of knowing that those situations and circumstances which shock us,
pierce our hearts, or simply rattle our equilibrium,
are places where the Sovereign God reigns.
Let’s hear that again, Church.
The Sovereign God reigned in every difficult moment before each was encountered by us,
just as our Sovereign God reigns in this present moment and every highest heavenly joy that has been or will be.
God. Is. There.
Emmanuel. God with us.
That’s the season we are entering. That’s the promise we proclaim.
That’s the angel’s song and God’s great Gift.
Emmanuel, God with us.
One month from now, we will be celebrating Christ’s birth.
It will look and feel and be experienced very differently this year,
and… God is there.
God is there in the future preparing the way,
and God is here now preparing us to make our way;
we are the clay, and You are our Potter;
we are all the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8
On February 15th, we didn’t know the difference a month could make.
There has already been so much change, so much that was unexpected, so much we have had to adjust and adapt to, the feeling of simply wanting to hunker down and power through Advent is understandable.
The “problem” is, God is already there.
And “there” includes a bothersome angel saying things to Mary like
Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you…
right before Mary’s world is turned upside down.
And we know, we know Church, that greeting is also for our ears to hear.
We who are highly favored by the grace of our God Who so loved this world,
that unto us a child was born and unto us a Son was given,
Emmanuel, God with us.
Then, now, and forever, God is there.
With so much that is uncertain and changing, dare we pray for a world altering, life up-ending,
Spirit led difference to be the gift of this months end?
With Mary, dare we go “all in” this Advent and boldly speak her words in faith
“I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”?
No doubt something new is needing to be born in me.
Besides, there is no reason to fear… God is already there.
Praying boldly with you and thankful for you,
If you would like to view past editions of Grace for the Journey, follow this link: https://fairwaydistrictnc.org/category/from-the-ds/