By Lee Weems
The boom of the thunder awakened us. Pounding rain was falling on the roof and we were thankful to be inside. In the dark night, the winds whipped the rain around while we experienced another March storm. Memories of severe storms and flooding from last year stirred thoughts of Wimberley and the families whose houses were swept away. Some persons experienced the tragic death of a loved one.
During spring break, youth and sponsors from Woodland gathered with a multitude of other youth and adults to invest time in the San Marcos and Wimberley communities. The volunteers equipped with paint brushes, rollers, hammers, saws and compassion provided a presence of God to the battered communities north of San Antonio.
Lent allows us a time to explore the questions and struggles of life. This is a time to ask questions – Why do disasters happen? We can ponder the uncertainties of life and confess that sometimes events happen that don’t make sense.
Lent offers a time to pause and to allow both silence and reflection to remember our foundation of life during the stormy weather. We need to back away, catch our breath and remember a bigger story.
Psalm 118 continues to be an essential reading in my spiritual journey, especially during Lent. This psalm invites the faith community to remember the days of darkness and affirm the Light that shines even behind the ebony shadows.
“Re-member” means to put the parts together. Psalm 118 is a congregational song of “re-membering” and affirming. This psalm allows us to reconnect with our life story. No doubt, along the way, each of us have been powerful and pivotal moments. The people of Israel had some tough times. This psalm contains a list of the crises and tough times in their history.
Psalm 118 is a public worship hymn. Woodland gathers as family of faith each Sunday. We come to re-member that our faith journey is jagged. Within a short distance from where any of us stands, someone has known the struggles of divorce, illness, death, relocation, or times of forced change. Confession allows us to acknowledge the bruised and broken, the confused and critical times along the path.
When this psalm was read responsively, the Hebrew people were invited to affirm a greater truth, “God’s steadfast love endures forever.” Hesed, the Hebrew word, proclaims the covenant love of God to the people of God. In our fractures and failures, disappointments and destruction, God never gives up on us and his enduring mercy surrounds us.
As we worship, there are spoken words, hymns, prayers and silence. We can confess times of insecurity and uncertainty. Together we speak aloud the great truth to one another, “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”
The storms of life are weathered and God’s steadfast love embraces us. Let us hold firmly to Hesed and trust God to gently hold us. Then we move forward into a world that knows pain, and become ambassadors of hope.
By Barbara Higdon
We appear to be a nation depressed and angry. We cry out to God to “restore our fortunes.” We rail against the failures of our leaders in whom we placed our trust. Greed, corruption and power-lust have invaded many of our political offices. Many are voting in anger and disgust with those who made huge promises and failed to deliver. We turn against them and look for other saviors who promise to change.
In the midst of that anger, it is easy to lose hope and forget the One who promised “to do great things for us.” He has not failed us, but he has allowed us to believe that in man we can find relief.
My prayer today is that we can “sow with tears” and wait patiently for the harvest. Putting one foot in front of the other in the midst of despair of any kind is important. God has promised that we will “will reap with songs of joy” if we simply follow his path.
Moving forward in this season of Lent, we must remember that our responsibility is to sow the seeds, whether with or without tears. It’s God’s promise to restore our souls, and our walk to the Cross is a daily reminder of his faithfulness even in the face of broken dreams. Reading the Psalms reminds us that we are not the first, nor the last to cry out to God for help. Our Lord has faced everything we face or will faced, and he understands us better than we understand ourselves.
Prayer: Lord, we know we have duties as Christians and citizens of a broken world. Remind us daily of those duties and help us to sow seeds of love and peace wherever we find ourselves.