Today's Lectionary Text
You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever.
In the role of pastor of a church I am invited into the struggles of our shared humanity. During this pandemic time of COVID (have we figured out a better name for what this shared is experience is to each of us?) the church I serve committed to helping people around us. We knew from the beginning as we entered into shut down that many people would struggle to pay utilities, keep food on the table, and receive needed health care. All of these are reality in our community.
A fund was established to help people with needs. It was fast tracked to be able to respond quickly yet follow good accounting practices. This is a note of thanks forwarded to me from one of the helpers in getting what was needed (*names were changed):
Please tell the church how much their help has meant to Elizabeth. Elizabeth said, “These people don’t even know me and yet they have helped so much.” I give thanks for each person who stepped up to contribute to provide for her when her life changed so dramatically. This has most definitely restored my hope in humanity and in God. Elizabeth said, “I can’t believe God did this all for me.” She is in awe of God’s love via the church. I am so thankful she trusted us enough to help her.
What might we accomplish if we are willing to follow God’s calling to be the church? The church which does not pass judgement, find fault, or put shame in failure which has no blame. To offer grace to someone hearing a message of starting again when life is upended. It is the resurrection story in the most abbreviated form. As we begin our journey of Lent we might offer the assistance of healers to share hope as God asks us to make a difference. What might it be to trust someone enough to share in this season you are wearing sackcloth and need help? That the day may come when dancing is a reality and praise is shouted from the rooftops, even if it is only a hope today. Listen to God calling to you. During this Lent season we pray for hope and healing of all people.
-Rev. Jo Mead
University UMC, Wichita
Prayer for Reflection
Lord, lead us to trust in these confusing times. Lead us to serve our neighbors. Lead us to open our lives with honesty and generosity. Thank you. Amen.
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