Pastor’s Corner — November 12

Life is a roller coaster. We experience ups, downs, loop-de-loops, and extreme curves. Often we can’t predict them and brace ourselves. This is true for us. It was true for the early believers. They were living under foreign rule, God seemed distant, life was hard. Then Jesus appeared on the scene and they had hope! He healed people. He taught with great insight and truth. He stood up to the religious authorities. He offered life! Then it all came to a shocking halt when Jesus was crucified. But he came back and appeared to the believers. Offering hope, direction, new purpose. I suspect those early believers felt like they had gone through the wringer the past couple of years. How did they handle it? How did they stay grounded? What did they hold on to? Acts 2:42 tells us “the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teachings, to the community, to their shared meals, and to their prayers.” They held on to their faith and to one another. God’s grace sustained and empowered them in this way. God’s grace will do the same for us.
Both congregations, Covenant and St. Paul’s, have experienced a wild roller coaster ride lately. Wonderful celebration alongside shocking grief. What are we to do? How do we find God in the midst of it? Let’s pattern ourselves after those early church people:
• Let’s devote ourselves to teaching, both in scripture and in contemporary spiritual authors. Those can be words of life for us, nourishing our souls.
• Let’s be devoted to the community, our church family. For God’s grace is living in and among the people. As we connect with one another, we will discover the presence of God.
• Let’s share meals together. Eating together nourishes our bodies and our souls. Connect with your friends. Share life together. Laugh and cry together, for in that we will be healed and sustained.
• And finally, let’s be devoted to prayer. Our tendency is to keep busy in seasons of grief, and there is value in that. But we also need to remember to pause, to breathe, to connect with the very presence and power of God who created us and loves us more than we can imagine.
Grief is a difficult journey. Grief is the pain we feel after a loss. And the more we loved the person, the more pain we feel. There is no way around the pain. To avoid or deny it only leaves us wounded and stuck. We need to find a way to embrace the pain and walk through it. This takes time. So be patient and gentle with yourself and one another. As we walk with one another, our goal is not to “get over it.” Our goal is to integrate our loss into our life. As we do, we will grow into a new reality and find meaning and joy again.
Walking on the path of grace,
Pastor Patti