Reflection from Joyce DeGreeff, March 22nd
For centuries, and for many people, the Psalms have provided comfort in hard times. I also really appreciate them because they do not shy away from what’s real. They often name the pain honestly and offer quite explicit lament. In times such as we are experiencing today, I think it’s really important to practice both/and thinking. As we see in Psalm 46, there are expressions of hardship, anxiety, and uncertainty followed by the assurance that we are not alone, that there is something greater than ourselves that we can rely on in times of doubt and despair.
“Though the earth should change; though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea; thought its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble with its’ tumult.”
This nature imagery for me lifts up a connection to what is very real for us right now… much is changing in the world around us, the “roaring waters” might represent our frustration, our lack of control, even our anger. And the “shaking mountains” we might feel in restless sleep, in our bodies as we hold our breath, clench our muscles, or experience any other bodily sensations of anxiety.
AND Yet…”God (Spirit, Love ….however you best understand the Sacred) is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” And this God invites us to “Be Still” and find Peace (ASL: Become Quiet), trusting that the Spirit is indeed moving in and among us.
I’m wondering: How do you experience God’s refuge and strength?
Hannah has offered us these questions to consider:
*What does it mean for God to be our refuge, our rock?
*How can you take your shelter in, or find your grounding on, God?
Summary of Responses:
Nature, Music, Stillness, Family Time, Pets, WCUC Community, Sunshine, Baking, Creatvity, Finding New Ways to Connect, Learning a New Skill, Resurrecting Old Ones!
*”We don’t have to socially distance ourselves from God!”
In fact, we don’t need to “socially” distance ourselves at all, we need to “physically distance” ourselves for sure, but now we need social connection and social solidarity more than ever.
Living in the “AND” … is where we find HOPE. Not wishful thinking, but a “ “hope” that is grounded in faith-based optimism and the knowledge that while we are more vulnerable right now, we are not powerless. We can draw on support from one another and from God to find our center, to experience grace, and find a sense of calm, even if just for a moment.
And I believe, that it is in quietness of hearts where we can best hear the still small voice of God calling us to act – to support our own family and friends, and to extend ourselves to others who are feeling particularly lonely, hungry, or scared right now.
from a recent Washing Post Article:
“Every hand that we don’t shake can become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid can become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another can become a thought as to how we might help that other, should the need arise.”
May each of us seek refuge in our loving God, so that we might be strengthened to share more love and kindness in the days ahead. Amen.