Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Jeremiah 2:1-13; Psalms 61, 62; Romans 1:16-25; John 4:43-54

“My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Ps. 62:1-2.)

Psalm 62 opens with a statement of complete trust in the Lord. How we long to relax and trust so completely. Yet the psalmist goes on to express his own frustration with his weakness and frailty. Many of us deal daily with the painful, frustrating effects of physical illness or disability. We can feel the psalmist’s pain, “How long will you assault a man?” It is difficult to move beyond the sense of “Why me?” and on to live life to the fullest despite our limitations. The psalm alternates couplets of trust – “Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” – with couplets of frustration. This too echoes our own vacillation between times when we can give fully and times when we are “down” and struggle with routine daily life.

We find this sense of struggle and frustration in two additional readings today. Jeremiah 2:1-13 is subtitled “Israel Forsakes God” (NIV) and ends with this: “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.” In John 4:43-54, Jesus heals the official’s son, yet we sense Jesus’ frustration. “Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” Jesus did heal the son, “the second miraculous sign that Jesus performed.”

We can find comfort in knowing that those who came before us were able to move beyond the frustrations they felt and share their love. Sometimes it is with very small steps that we move forward. One small step leads to another. It is almost impossible to do alone. With faith in the Lord and the love of those around us, we too can know and share God’s love. I suggest we each take one step beyond the place we are today. Participate in WATCH, volunteer for an event, join a committee, take part in an outreach project, or enjoy a pizza and game night. Each small step will lead to another. You will feel God’s strength as you try each new thing. Often we do not know the direction God intended for us, and where our own strengths may lie. We will only find them if we move beyond frustration: acknowledge the pain but do not be consumed by it. Even with pain, we can feel love and share love, and we will feel better for having done so.

“One thing God has spoken.
Two things have I heard:
That you, O God, are strong,
And that you, O Lord, are loving.” (Ps. 62:11-12.)

I pray that all who join us at Saint Matthew’s will find God to be your rock and your salvation, and will “know and share God’s love.”

Merry Breed

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