July 1, 2020
It’s July! Usually we look forward to cook-outs, family reunions and vacations to the beach. This July is different and we are forced to take a closer look at what brings us joy.
When the people we know and love are unable to come over and bring potato salad and homemade pound cake, we are forced to take a closer look at what it means to love without benefit or expectation of reward.
Perhaps this is a time for us to look in the mirror and see who we see. Perhaps this is a time to celebrate our strengths and acknowledge our shortcomings. Perhaps this time presents an opportunity to reevaluate our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Fortunately, Jesus’ relationship with us is unchanging. We sometimes forget that. We pray that God will hear us, remember us, bless us, prosper us, restore us, heal us, forgive us, nurture us, provide for us. Jesus hears our prayers and in time, Jesus answers our prayers. In turn, we are called to be obedient to the commandments. We try, but from time to time, we stray. We focus on other gods and we give our attention and our allegiance to them. Sometimes, when our prayers are answered in ways that disappoints us, our relationship with God falters. We question our faith. We question God’s promises and sometimes we lose our spiritual vitality. But God remains constant. God gives us grace and mercy to navigate our ambivalence. God waits patiently as we work out our frustrations and our doubts.
Then God gives us the gift of discernment. We can use such a time as this to look deeper into God’s Word and into God’s plan for our lives.
We can look around us to see how God’s kingdom is breaking through despite the appearance of apocalypse. We can see it in the flowers growing in the yard. We can see it in the smile of a child at his 1st birthday party. We can see it when we bite into an ear of sweet corn from the roadside vegetable market. God is yet with us. God’s relationship with us is unchanged. God has claimed us as God’s own. Whoever we see in the mirror, know that somewhere in that visage is the image of God.
The songwriter says it this way, “Hold to his hand, God’s unchanging hand. Build your hopes on things eternal. Hold to God’s unchanging hand.”