Mar 19, 2022
In Lenten Devotional - 2022
This passage in Isaiah is expressing the anguish and frustration toward God by the Israelites, as they fear He has forsaken them. The passage is both in the present and prophetic for the future. Some points these verses may address are the agony of being captives of Babylon, the long awaiting for the Messiah, and meaningful for both the past and present Church when evil seems to triumph in a community of faith. In other words, the passage is applicable to the people of God in all times of difficulty and distress. I think we are in times of distress. Sometimes I feel we have become captives from the pandemic; it has stolen lives, our health, and precious moments with loved ones. I lament when I see our sanctuary at church not filled as it once was, and remember when our pastors would remind us to slide together so more people could fit into a pew. Live Stream is a wonderful tool and it kept us connected while we had to be separated; however, I need to see my new friends. I need to hug them and laugh and cry with them. My sisters and brothers in faith help to lift me up and give me the courage and strength to “run the race”, the metaphor that apostle Paul used. My heart is crying out to God, “Please do not forget us”, and I am crying out to our beloved congregation “Please do not forget each other” even though God is at our side. God alone can redeem us and show us mercy in these times of illness and world conflict. I want to see the sanctuary filled to overflowing. I want the Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren who is known for being a bright beacon of light, faith, hope, and action, to become an even brighter beacon of light in our community. We cannot lose heart when there is so much that depends on it. As Pastor Jason said in a Sunday School prayer, “ I look for the light that the darkness has not overcome.” I enjoy creating things out of different textiles. I am intimately acquainted with the items I create, every stitch, cut of fabric, and shape is well thought out and assembled. I have a fondness for my creation, whether it becomes a treasured heirloom, or is worthless in the eyes of most. It is valuable to me, the creator. How much greater is the love of God for his creation ( humankind and the universe ), because He knows me intimately; because He has made me He remembers me and knows my voice. We have a friend in Haiti who told us when we were leaving “ Please do not forget us”. Our presence in Haiti does not give them immediate relief from poverty, but our presence offers them hope. God gives me hope because of His presence and I am assured that because He created me, he remembers me and will never forget who I am; I am always on His mind. God has a tender affection for His Church and people; He does not want His people to be discouraged or feel forgotten. My husband Paul and I have five children and seven grandchildren. They are central in our lives; the love we have for them is indescribable. I often tell my young grandchildren, “I love you this much”, with my arms spread opened wide. God’s compassion and love for us is greater than parents’ love for their children; we are a mark on His hand, a seal upon His arm, symbolizing His attentiveness and consciousness towards us. I do not need a password; He created me, He remembers me, and will never forget me or my name. I would do well to keep that thought in the forefront, that God knows me and therefore understands my needs and concerns. We serve a loving God who will always have His arms opened wide to welcome us.