Peace Candle Reflection
As many of you know, during Lent we have been encouraging you to take a rock and place it somewhere in the world where you see love. This is based on the idea of cairns – piles of rocks that are placed to mark paths – where people should go – markers for the journey.
Right now, we can’t really go leave rocks around the world. But, we can still practice noticing love. And here’s a little secret – where you see love, you see God. It’s that simple.
One of our jobs as people of faith is to notice God. You might think noticing God is pretty easy – but we are unbelievably distracted most of the time. And right now many of us are consumed by the news. I wish I could say that the news mostly focused on love – but as you know it does not. But just because the whole world is focused on all of the data and disasters relating to this virus doesn’t mean we have to be.
We need to have enough knowledge to act responsibly. We need to know what actions are being called for – but we do not need to consume news during all waking hours of our day to be responsible.
I challenge you this week to find one marker of love every day. You may have to go hunting for it. You may have to scour the internet for more than what is open and what is closed. You may have to talk and share stories with your household or others over the phone or internet. You may have spend some time staring out your window and watching the world. But every day, look for love and then share what you found with someone else.
This morning we light the peace candle for our world and especially those most affected by the coronavirus. God grant them strength and courage and peace. Amen.
Scripture – Exodus 13:17-22, 14:19-25
When the world is in trouble people turn to communities of faith. They gather in churches drawing strength from one another. Physical proximity makes us feel safe. Sacred space makes us feel safe.
Unfortunately, that is not what this crisis calls for – the best thing we can do is to stay away from one another. It feels so odd. Though we have become a world where technology connects us with people all over the world and we often ignore one another when we are in close proximity – taking phone calls, checking emails, catching up on the news – there is something heartbreaking about not being able to gather together in person during this time of crisis.
We must remember that our faith is more than a sacred place to gather and it’s more than sitting next to one another on Sunday. Our faith is about our relationship with God and our understanding of God’s relationship to us. In this morning’s story, God delivers the Israelites from slavery in Egypt by leading them to the wilderness. Just like we are experiencing right now, the Israelites were experiencing uncertainty. In fact, they experience so much uncertainty that eventually they beg to go back to being slaves – at least that is predictable. We like to have a sense of control in our lives, but times like these remind us that this is not always possible. But, what we can know is that God is with us in these times. Just like God accompanied the Israelites, leading them with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, God is with us.
The Bible is our sacred story – it’s a aift that gives us points of reference when we experience things we’ve never experienced before. The biblical stories remind us of God’s love and presence even when we are afraid. They provide us with hope and fuel our trust that God has not abandoned us – God is right here with us as we face this challenge – loving us the whole time.
Even though can’t gather for worship or coffee hour or committee meetings or social gatherings, that doesn’t mean we have to be alone – it does mean we have to be creative and intentional. Reach out. Ask for help if you need it. If you think of someone – pick up the phone and give them a call or send them an email. Connect.
And you also have a chance to spend some time with God in ways that you might now have before. Maybe consider reading the Bible every day or re-telling your favorite Bible stories with others. Pray – talk to God. Tell God everything – what brings you joy and what’s overwhelming. And then spend some time in silence – listening to God. You might want to write. You might want to make art. You might want to create a space in your house that is your “sacred” space. A place to go when you want to connect with God. A place to remind you of God’s presence.
This current reality is certainly challenging but it also provides us with opportunities that we’ve never had before. My prayer for all of us – is that we continue to deepen our connection to God, our sacred story, and the holy even as we live with incredibly disorienting uncertainty – because I am confident that God continues to journey with us even if we don’t leave the house. Amen.