“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”
John 15:13-15, KJV
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”
Revelation 3:20, KJV
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
May the peace that surpasses our understanding keep you surrounded in grace, love, and joy.
Living with sudden family grief and anger at world events means balance maybe more difficult to maintain. Grief needs to be felt and anger worked through. What can I/we do? Here’s a few things that have worked for me.
Cry. Yes, let the tears flow. Tears can be a watershed for so many feelings. Cleansing and even exhausting – leading to a deeper sleep. Perhaps don’t stay in this mode for too long. Once cried out perhaps more water would be helpful: shower, bathe, swim etc.
Fresh air. Get outside of the home. Breathe deeply.
Sing. Sad songs that help emote the feelings. Songs that create energy in you. Dance, move the body, keep time with the music. Old favourites or newly created ones, any music that helps you to feel and lift the soul.
Read. Nonsense, romance, historical fiction, fantasy – so many to choose from that can take you away for a while. Read about knights, wizards, space travel, what ever peaks your curiosity.
Watch. Sappy movies, funny TV. Old sitcoms get me every time. Some, “I love Lucy” or “Carol Burnett” have me laughing out loud.
Give. Be thankful for all that is good and abundant in your life. Acknowledge the food you eat, the bed that you sleep in, the friends and family that care for you, for all of life.
Begin. Start the list again if needed.
In the midst of all of this pray. Pray in the sorrow. Pray through the anger. Whatever you do pray. Prayer helps us to focus all the ugly and painful moments and memories. For some this may seem unattainable or trite but in my experience prayer fills a void that nothing can.
Perhaps none of these are helpful for you. The list comes from my own experience. I’ve made many mistakes and continually learn from them and the new ones that I create. I’ve also been blessed by family, love, vocation, and a creative spirit.
May you find ways to walk through these dark days; the injustice in the world; the feelings of hopelessness. Know, you are loved.
1 Protect me, O God, for in you I take refuge. 2 I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.”[a]
3 As for the holy ones in the land, they are the noble, in whom is all my delight.
4 Those who choose another god multiply their sorrows;[b] their drink offerings of blood I will not pour out or take their names upon my lips.
5 The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. 6 The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage.
7 I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. 8 I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices; my body also rests secure. 10 For you do not give me up to Sheol, or let your faithful one see the Pit.
11 You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
WELCOME in the name of Jesus, the Christ.
Sharing with you some ideas about this psalm and our lives today.
We’re standing in the middle of something so much bigger than each of us but our God is big enough AND small enough to tap each of us on the shoulder and say, “Have no fear, I am with you.”
I don’t often write out my full prose of my message and today will be no different. The mind map that I will share at the end may seem confusing or odd but it gives a glimpse into my thought process throughout the week.
The big question and the following questions stem from this statement: “If you were to write a psalm today what would it look like?”
The psalmist today writes about how very present God is and not like the gods of the Canaanites. There are a lot or resources available on this Psalm – just ask Mr. Google if you want more.
Back to the questions.
How would you write your psalm today? Would you base it somewhat on Psalm 16?
What does your lament or tears look like? Would you share that part of you? That’s not always easy.
What songs would you sing today? Songs of joy, faith, or love perhaps.
Take the questions further – what does your dream look like? For tomorrow or for this time next year. What’s the dream for when we worship together once more?
Perhaps the dream would be about rising again. We will arise! We will find joy in today but also in tomorrow and whatever is next for us.
This morning we sang songs of Joy: Joyful, joyful we adore you, I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart, and then finished with I can feel you near me God (Jump for joy).
Are you feeling joy? Are you able to get excited about your dreams to come?
This we know for sure: God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.
See my Mind Map below which is the short form of my message today.
Snow days can be isolating for some. Much of today I felt wrapped in a love undefinable. The smells from the kitchen reminded me of all that I have: food, shelter from the storm, power that keeps the stove running and warmth radiating throughout the house.
This house is a home. It is home. Home is where I find refuge, I’m nourished, and I’m cared for.
But, there is more. Here, in this place, tonight, I find the grace to be me. A person filled with God’s love ready to rest in the arms of the Holy for one more night. I know deep inside that joy does come with the dawn. Each new day brings its own blessings, lessons, and surprises.
And snow it goes…I’m feeling a little melancholy. Enjoy the song. Count your blessings.