March 23, 2020
Devotion from Pastor Molly

These are uncharted waters, with usual r outines blown and many things unknown.  Each one of us is adjusting, then readjusting to what a pandemic actually means not just for the world, but for our own lives.

When my mind starts to future trip and the fears threaten to take over, there are a few thoughts that help bring me peace: 

“Do not fear, for I am with you,
    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

When my mom died, I wondered if I would survive.  Would the devastation I felt ever subside? Glimpses of hope came through other people. This grief wasn’t just an experience unique to me, losing a beloved. So many, many people have lost their mom. In those first days, when I couldn’t fathom a life without her, recognizing those a little further along the grief path, who no doubt still ached at times, but who were doing ok, offered a light in my darkness. Other people’s stories, empathy and shared experience gave me hope.  Though my heart still aches at times, the devastation has subsided. I hope my story, empathy and shared experience helps others.

Though different this seems to translate to now.  As global, local and family community we are in the thick of things right now.  Swimming in the unknown. Some are scared.  Some less concerned. Still others grasping for a sense of control. And the question runs through my mind: Will we survive? How will we survive? Though it’s hard to fathom right now, because this is a unique experience for us in this moment of time, others have gone through this before. A peek into history tells stories similar to now. For me, this shared experience of humanity’s resilience and ability to “just keep swimming” (to quote Dory from the classic movie, Finding Nemo) offers a glimmer of hope.

Which leads to another thought. We are not alone. We are all swimming in this together. Can you believe it?!  We are all in this together! Now, more than ever is the time to live into our faith and cling to our Hope, with a capital H.

In an interview with gospel singer and pastor Alemta Ingram-Miller of the Ingramettes says, “these are not the first difficult times that we have faced. What this does [is] it gives us a chance to use that hope and use that faith that we’ve always sang about, that we’ve always talked about. It has given us a heightened sense of the fact that we need one another in this life. I look at that as the silver lining in all of this, is that humanity’s response is that we must care for and about each other.” (3/22/2020 Weekend Edition Sunday w/ Lulu Garcia-Narvarro, NPR)

We’ve been here before.  We’re in this together.  And…God is in our midst.

“The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory.

        God will create calm with his love;
        and will rejoice over you with singing. “(Zephaniah 3:17)

“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NRSV)

May we work together, bringing out the best in humanity. Look for ways to serve:  Pray without ceasing. Donate your extra “stash” (toilet paper, face masks, gloves, gowns).  There is need for them right now at our local hospitals. Sew a mask (directions found here https://www.providence.org/lp/100m-masks ). Sing. Call a friend. And keep breathing in the Holy Spirit, Breath of Life, for God is in our midst and Hope springs eternal.  Amen.