A Daily Dose of Good News
Thursday, July 16, 2020
You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
(Psalm 139:1-12, 23-24)
Known and Loved by God
What a comforting psalm!
Reassuring me of a fundamental factor in my faith
That somehow, for some reason,
I am known and loved by God.
You are known and loved by God.
All are known and loved by God
Because that is the nature of God’s knowledge and love.
That’s the spiritual intuition that our Hebrew ancestors in the faith
Sought to express in the story of creation:
God created light, and it was good.
God created earth, sun and moon, and it was good.
God created plants of the fields and animals of the sky, sea and land
And it was good.
God created male and female in God’s image, and it was good.
God knows and loves all that God has created
And God has demonstrated that knowledge and love as eternal
In the resurrection of Christ Jesus our Lord:
Emmanuel … God with us … now and always.
And from the beginning
God has been working to illumine and invigorate
That faith relationship among all God’s people and the whole creation.
Calling on us then, to help illumine and invigorate that faith relationship with all others too.
In simplest terms, that is the core of Christian vocation,
Approaching every activity of your life as a way to reflect
God’s knowledge and love for all people and all creation.
And while I continue to give thanks to God
For the meaningful ways we are finding to answer this calling during pandemic
Within the bubbles of interaction that each of us keeping for safety
And I pray the same continues to be the same
in many of your professional and community activities as well,
I have to admit that pandemic is creating challenges to my vocation as a pastor
And our vocation as a church.
To be sure, it’s a primary objective for all my work as a pastor
And all of our ministries as a congregation …
From worship to Sunday school and Bible Study
To Social Outreach to women’s groups, mens’ groups, youth groups and softball team
All seeking to illumine and invigorate
God’s knowledge and love for each and every person.
And while under the best of times,
that work is fraught by social distractions, competing cultural message and the like,
And now, in many cases, we haven’t even seen each other in four months.
And when we do see each other we keep our distance
And refrain from handshakes and hugs
All in answer to the same call to love God and neighbor
While impacting our ability to build up faith at the same time.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m immensely grateful for the technology
That has helps us broadcast worship and Daily Doses of Good News and weekly communications.
Yet all those forms of interaction are much more one directional and one dimensional
Than when we assemble in the same room, share facial expressions, greet and embrace one another.
And now as we begin to gather anew for worship,
Again, out of love for safety, we are choosing to limit the intimacy
That arises from group speaking and group singing
And conducting communion individually and simultaneously from our seats
Rather than hand-to-hand and face-to-face.
Missing so many interactions that have played such a major role
In the way we illumine and invigorate faith in God’s knowledge and love for each other.
Please know that as a staff
We are committed to continuing the connections we are already making with you
And we are listening for the Spirit to inspire new ways
For deepening those connections while living in the limitations of love during pandemic
Especially with those of you who we haven’t personally encountered in the last four months.
Being known and loved by God is more than an intellectual exercise and spiritual ascent.
It’s personal, it’s sensory, it’s physical.
So now as we gather anew, let’s learn as well to connect anew.
Please feel free to let us know if you have any ideas in that regard
And be watching for news of ideas we’re wanting to develop too. Amen.