We read in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” (1 Cor. 13:12-13)
When I conducted our first online worship, on March 15, we all hoped we would be back in the sanctuary on Easter Sunday, April 12. As I prepare for Pentecost on May 31, it will be the 12th time we will have had worship online. When will be back to worship in-person? We don’t know. “For now, we see in a mirror, dimly.” Even if we were seeing a steady decline of new cases, the supplies we have ordered to properly sanitize the building won’t be in until mid-July. They’re on backorder. We can only take this, as we have, one day at a time.
Do you remember The Captain and Tennille? How about their hit, “Love Will Keep Us Together?” While the song speaks of romantic love, I think it has something to say to us today. When we are tossed about by the stresses from the time in which we live, love will keep us together.
1 John tells us that “God is love” and that “those who abide in love, abide in God.” God is the glue that holds us together even though we are physically apart. God is our refuge from the storms of life and a very present help in times of struggle.
During my monthly gathering with other pastors in our Community of Practice group, a few lines of the poem below, titled Holding by Washington Gladden, were shared with us. I find them profound for the times in which we live.
“In the bitter waves of woe,
Beaten and tossed about
By the sullen winds that blow
From the desolate shores of doubt,
When the anchors that faith had cast
Are dragging in the gale,
I am quietly holding fast
To the things that cannot fail:
In the darkest night of the year,
When the stars have all gone out,
That courage is better than fear,
That faith is truer than doubt;
And fierce though the fiends may fight,
And long though the angels hide,
I know that Truth and Right
Have the universe on their side;
And somewhere, beyond the stars,
Is a Love that is better than fate;
When the night unlocks her bars
I shall see Him, and I will wait”
To help you remain connected in love, and with God, I offer these three prayers.
Comfort on Dreary Days by Joyce Rupp
Eternal Presence, you are with me on my journey.
You know the loneliness that wraps around my heart
and leaves a void of sadness.
Comfort me on my dreary days when emptiness is all I know.
Do not let me succumb to isolated self-pity.
Let me experience your presence.
Fill my downcast spirit with your joy.
Keep me close to your abiding love with every step I take.
Prayer by Leslie Weatherhead
Help me be quiet, relaxed and receptive, accepting the thought of healing grace at work, deep within my nature.
Prayer by John Baillie
O God, who has been the Refuge of my fathers and mothers through many generations, be my Refuge today in every time and circumstance of need. Be my Guide through all that is dark and doubtful. Be my Guard against all that threatens my spirit’s welfare. Be my Strength in time of testing. Gladden my heart with Thy peace, through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.
God be with you until we meet again.