Today's Lectionary Text
Psalm 148:1, 9-13Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
praise him in the heights!
Mountains and all hills,
Kings of the earth and all peoples,
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
The morning started out with a quick few steps around the gazebo in our backyard. I drew in my breath in utter amazement at the beauty of the flowers bursting forth in the beds at the edges of the yard. The stunning apricot irises had opened next to the purple ones dancing in the breeze. Gorgeous snowballs and purple clematis continued to decorate the space. Delicate columbine shook their blossoms and a few yellow roses made their way up the trellis. The magenta peonies were about to burst into bloom, and the sparkly “star balls” topped long stems swaying in the morning air. Wow! Each of these seemed to be raising their beautiful flowers to the Lord, praising their Creator.
Then, back inside I opened the Monday morning Eagle, and above the fold read the headline, “Dozens feared dead after Russian bomb levels Ukraine school.” As I perused the article I learned that the dozens (actually about 90) were not school children but were Ukrainians sheltering in the school basement.
What a contrast. Utter devastation and destruction compete for attention with the sheer beauty of an unfolding spring and the promise of new life. It is easy to acknowledge the Presence of God in the fresh and beautiful morning. My heart opens wide and my lips form into a smile walking in the scene of the new day. Clearly, a Creator exists who delights in assembling such a visual treat.
Where is the Presence of God in the Ukrainian scene? It is hard to uncover God’s nearness in the midst of deadly fighting and power-grabbing. Has God abandoned all the folk who are defending their homeland? Did God turn his back on the people in Ukraine, dust off God’s hands, and move on to a more pleasant setting?
We know the answer to these questions is a firm “no”. Likewise, the answer is “no” when we ask the question about people who have health concerns and have no money to visit a health care professional. God is present with people who have insufficient funds for groceries or who lack weather-appropriate living accommodations. Students may get little assistance at home as they struggle with homework assignments, yet God certainly remains with them.
That closeness of God is hard to notice in troubling situations, but it is made real through the acts of God’s people following Jesus’ new commandment, “That you love one another.”
Sometimes that will put us in an uncomfortable spot. We may need to work to find appropriate ways to address the need for food or medical care, shelter or homework help, or any of a long list of needs. By giving up a little time and doing some sleuthing each of us can find a project or a cause or an organization that attempts to meet needs in our area. We can follow that new commandment.
Be filled this week with the awesome loveliness of spring days. Let that loveliness, created by our wonderful God, energize you for God’s work in situations of deep hurt and need in this world today.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh, retired
Prayer for Reflection
Creator God. You are so magnificent! Thank you for the renewed life that reminds us of your Presence in the world. Show us how to spread that Presence into the midst of need today. Amen.
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