May 6, 2020

Last Sunday, after the worship service concluded, Dr. Bradley had the following thoughts reverberating through his mind. I hope you find them as meaningful as I have.

“Sunday we observed the Sacrament of Holy Communion. It was significantly different. You, our congregation, were not with us in person. However, we were mindful that many of you were watching our live streaming and were observing this sacred moment giving purpose and meaning to our efforts as your staff.

As I sat listening to one of the most dynamic sermons I have ever heard, I became acutely aware that, even under the restrictions in which we find ourselves, this was still the day the Lord had made as Psalm 118: 24 reminds us. This day was a gift. That is why it is called the “present.” Today is the only day we have! His presence with us is most definitely a “present.” It is also a place of refuge in the midst of this pandemic storm, and even though the storm is raging, we can be at peace. The refuge is not the place God takes us out of the storm. It is a place to which we can go in the midst of the storm and discover that we can have peace. The place of refuge is where we can go and be greeted by the arms of love that hold us close and keep us safe and help us see. “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help.” Psalm 46:1

Recently, I have found myself getting “back to the basics” of life. With an empty social calendar, I have found more time to admire the flowers in bloom and smell the roses in my garden. I have noticed that the birds are singing more loudly and beautifully. There is the fragrance of grass newly mowed wafting through the air. There is now time for postponed chores; more time to read; more time to spend with family; and, more time to relax.

Sunday, as I sat listening, observing the uniqueness of the hour, and anticipating communion, I realized how awe-struck I was by the sonic beauty that often so completely possesses this room we call a sanctuary. It imparts to us as if by magic a sense of well-being, courage, and an up-dwelling of love that carries us into God’s presence in conclusive testimony that He is here as surely as we ourselves are here even if through digital media. We see the brilliance and beauty in the stained glass around us that serves as a fresh glimpse of the Divine. The beauty of sound and song can be fleeting. But the cinema of this magnificent glass, wood, and plaster provide for us a steady story in narrative that tells the truth of God’s love for each of us with deep and brilliant clarity. The word sanctuary is defined as a holy place of worship and refuge. Ours truly fulfills that description.

We are traveling uncharted waters during these days. We are experiencing confusing and frustrating times. However, we must be mindful that God still reigns. He is still in control. He is our “refuge and strength.”

I am reminded of the poem: “Pippa’s Song”

The year’s at the spring, And day’s at the morn; Morning’s at seven; The hill-side’s dew-pearl’d;

The lark’s on the wing; The snail’s on the thorn; God’s in His heaven –

All’s right with the world!

Robert Browning

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, I want your priorities to become mine. Help me see what really matters. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.

Tom Robbins