Today's Lectionary Text
Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings,
The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
The voice of the Lord causes the oaks to whirl,
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
Have you ever been traveling and turned on the local newscast to watch a newscaster out in the field broadcasting a live weather event? We can watch a hurricane blowing in and there stands someone with a raincoat and microphone telling us it is raining. Or locally we know the surge of adrenalin for storm chasers when the conditions are right, and the clouds may form into a tornado at any moment. The camera pans to ominous rotations of darkening clouds. Most of us in the Great Plains Conference area know the spring weather conditions may require us to find shelter quickly when warnings are issued.
Psalm 29 gives us a sense of God within the storm. This storm is moving inland to the Mediterranean Sea to the Lebanese Valley, and south into the wilderness of Kadesh. But the psalm is not about the weather resulting from the storm but about God. God as above the storm and all are praising God. God as the loudest crack of thunder! And all the people shout with acclamation of praise “How great Thou art!”
We celebrate the Epiphany by the joy of finding the Christ Child because of the star pointing the way. Yet evil ever lurks ready to change the joy in a moment. The Magi were warned not to report back to Herod and went home another way. What is it that is causing our own fear this season and our hesitation to offer full and loud praise to God? Is COVID-19 hampering what might have been a wonderful season if only everyone could be together? Are conversations of hope for the new year complicated by the debate of accepting a vaccine? Will we become complacent with fatigue of 10 months of altered activities and gatherings?
It feels as if we can put on our coats, boots and hats and stand on the corner telling everyone what is happening with the rains, wind and thunder (virus, fear and fatigue). Or we make a choice about finding God in our lives instead of fear. God moves in amazing action if we are open to looking for God. The final line of the Psalm is “May the Lord bless his people with peace.” Might we all stand on the corner and proclaim the Good News that Emmanuel is among us and we have hope and strength for 2021. What will you broadcast in your corner of the world for in this new year?
Deepest shalom to you and yours in 2021.
--Rev. Jo Mead, pastor
University United Methodist Church,
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God, give us courage to proclaim your good news in times of bounty and times of want. Give us strength to love our neighbors with grace and mercy. Give us eyes to see the needs around us and the desire to change the world in the storm knowing you are with us today and always. Amen.
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