Great Plains Daily Devotional for 3/16/2021

Today please be in prayer for

Greg Lindenberger
Hastings First UMC
Prairie Rivers District
Oscar Perez
Christo Poder de Dios
Hastings Grace UMC
Prairie Rivers District
Stefanie Hayes
Hastings Grace UMC
Prairie Rivers District
Michelle Loeffelholz
Inland UMC
Pauline UMC
Prairie Rivers District

Today's Lectionary Text

Lamentations 1: 1-2, 4; Lamentations 3: 22-24

How lonely sits the city
    that once was full of people!
How like a widow she has become,
    she that was great among the nations!
She that was a princess among the provinces
    has become a vassal.

She weeps bitterly in the night,
    with tears on her cheeks;
among all her lovers
    she has no one to comfort her;
all her friends have dealt treacherously with her,
    they have become her enemies.

The roads to Zion mourn,
    for no one comes to the festivals;
all her gates are desolate,
    her priests groan;
her young girls grieve,
    and her lot is bitter.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases,
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
    “therefore I will hope in him.”

Today's Devotional

The notation is innocent looking enough. March 15, 2020: “Church cancelled due to COVID-19.” We shut down in person church for 14 days to “flatten the curve.”
 
14 days.
 
It’s now been a year. That was a world ago.
 
Since then I have floated spiritually and emotionally between the two poles in the Scripture above. Sometimes my soul looks upon the empty streets and pews, the few there sitting masked between the blue ropes, and I shout out, “How lonely sits the city that once was full of people! ...The roads to Zion mourn, for no one comes to the festivals; all her gates are desolate, her priests groan; her young girls grieve, and her lot is bitter.” Other times I am hearing the great passion of those who are there, see the love and compassion in the midst of tragedy that is happening around us, and I shout, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
 
Over the last year we have collectively decided to put our heads down and plow forward as if nothing was happening. But something is happening. Our lives have been disrupted in ways we couldn’t have possibly imagined. We now worship at half what we once did and limit our singing. Our meetings are done over video like we’re on "The Jetsons,” without all the fun science-fiction stuff. We can’t see our loved ones, or if we do it feels like we are walking into battle as we do. Thanksgiving was canceled. Christmas consisted only of quick, masked gift exchanges. 500,000 Americans are dead. Millions are out of work. Our disagreements have torn at the very fabric of our society enough to erupt into violence multiple times.
 
No one has not been impacted. You have been impacted. And if we don’t take the time to process it all it will overwhelm us and shut us down, probably at the worst possible moment. That’s why I like that Lamentations is a book in the Bible, why I like that the Bible gives us permission to yell our frustrations at God. And the Bible tells us that God is big enough to take it.
 
So, lament if you need to. It’s spiritually healthy. And hear the Scripture: “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’”
 
 
-Pastor Michael Brown
Bucyrus and Spring Hill UMC's
mbrown@greatplainsumc.org

Prayer for Reflection

Lord of all the ages, my soul aches in this age of illness. Forgive me when I cry out to you, and comfort me in my pain. Lead me to wholeness Lord. In Christ I pray, Amen.

 

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