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Resting in God's grace

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Often we like to think that having a relationship with God or being a follower of Jesus will make life easier. With God on your side, you’ll slide through life with no problems, right?

Evidently that was no truer in the days of the early church than it is for us now. Life has always been complicated. Families are diverse and opinionated. People are never perfect and fear can never be eliminated.

Daily, we experience that following Jesus will not eliminate all our problems nor will our relationship with God will remove all the obstacles from our path of life. No one is guaranteed a perfect marriage, perfect kids, a perfect job or a perfect boss.

Faith is not the path to a life with no worries. Jesus’ promise to us is about never being alone in the midst of each day’s complications and assurance of the ultimate victory. Jesus never taught of a life without battles.

Because life is not going to be easy for the faithful, some question the need for faith at all. Some people give up believing because they do not feel that it matters or that faith makes a difference each day. I see the world a little different than that. I believe the gospel is true. There is a God who loves us and wants a relationship with us. This relationship gives us the strength to face each day and every challenge. “God with us” is not just a happy thought it is the realization that we live in God’s world.

During these days of separation, it has been important for us to seek out the people and relationships that are most important for each of us. In times of high stress, it can be easy to turn on those
closest to us. Faith can even be one of those topics that divides families. The realization of God’s presence with us can bring healing and wholeness to relationships which are hurt or broken.
Faith can give us the power we need to know that forgiveness and repentance can close earthly chasms years in the making.

Jesus sends his followers out into the world prepared to face any situation they may encounter. They don’t know that they will
be empowered, they don’t even know what is going to happen. What they do know is that everything is not up to them, it’s up to
God. Their journeys are in God’s hands, just like us. Each day we must rely on God to bring us through and God will, because
that is what God does. It is enough to do what we can, it is enough to simply be God’s beloved one sent into the world.

One last word on our living in the grace of God each day, in the words of poet Denise Levertov:

The Avowal
As swimmers dare
to lie face to the sky
and water bears them,
as hawks rest upon air
and air sustains them,
so would I learn to attain
freefall, and float
into Creator Spirit’s deep embrace,
knowing no effort earns
that all-surrounding grace.

May you rest fully in the all-surrounding grace of our ever loving God, today and every day.

Living "in-between" days

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We can be “in-between” in many different ways. These pandemic days are in-between our “stay at home” orders and being able to move around freely again. For many people it is getting more difficult to just stay home, and nerves are getting frayed.

For some of us it is a time between jobs, waiting for what is next. Wondering when our employer will be able to open up again, or if there will still be a job at the end of all this.

Many of our young people are between classes. They are trying
to learn online and know that it is not the same as being in the
classroom. We don’t even know what school will look like in the fall, which really brings anxiety to kids and parents, too.

Some of our people are looking to a graduation and then wondering what’s next. Usually this can be a time of fun, and all the celebrations. But that’s not true this year. They join the rest of the population concerned about an unknown future.

We are also between pastors, wondering who will be here as a part of our leadership team. Our transition team has finished up our site profile, the job description, and we are looking to find a call committee. Day by day we wait, but we know that ministry still happens here.

God also knows us to be in-between who we are today and what we will be tomorrow as God’s still beloved one. God knows us
always and we are never orphaned, God abides here and now in this in-between time.

In-between can be a time of loss and mourning. Jesus says to us that at such a time, I will not leave you alone. This is sacred time because God dwells here, in-between.

Until we gather together again may you be filled with God’s peace and love.

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