Easter Monday, 13 April 2020

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1)

Thank you to Lillian Garruba for sending me this wonderful quote from Patrick Overton about faith, to share as part of our Devotional Reflections:
            Faith:  When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take the first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen: There will be something solid for you to stand upon, or, you will be taught how to fly. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m struggling these days to process information.  Sometimes, it takes me an hour or more to make a decision about something that ordinarily I would scarcely need to think about.  I know it’s a normal human reaction to trauma—and we’re all experiencing trauma in varying degrees as we globally navigate this pandemic—but it still frustrates and confounds me.  It also humbles me and reminds me to practice generous grace toward others, as I certainly need more myself.

Do you ever wonder what must have gone through the minds of the disciples in the days immediately following Jesus’ crucifixion, before they had personally experienced his resurrection?  As I imaginatively become one of them, I’m again finding it difficult to process.  A few days ago, my first-century eyes witnessed the horrific killing of the one person who ever helped me understand what a healthy relationship with God looks like; who taught me that faith is less about conforming to human teachings about God than it is about searching out, discovering, and honoring God (Love) in all people and places.  And now, after the trauma of witnessing his suffering, and noting my own losses, some are now reporting that angels (angels? I’ve never seen an angel…have I?) say he’s no longer dead; He is risen!?  My first-century mind is blown.  I’m finding it hard to comprehend anything, everything. 

What does faith mean to me now?  How do I practice faith in response to all that’s happened, all that’s happening?  Everything has changed.  Everything is changing, faster than I can make coherent sense of it.  Whether I’m in the first century, or the twenty-first.  I am being called to go deep, to fathom depths I’ve never been to before.  And it’s very murky; I can’t satisfactorily describe what’s here yet.  But I’m searching out, and discovering God even here—in the faces and stories of other people, especially those who have suffered and are suffering, as well.  And I’m doing my best to honor God in all of these faces and places, by praying with them and for them.

Here’s the prayer I offered (in adapted form) at yesterday’s Easter service—it’s a visual prayer, so also doubles as the Music for today. 

It’s by Christine Valters Painter, called “Praise Song for the Pandemic” (click on title to view).

May the blessings of Easter continue to rise up for you this week!

© 2020 The Congregational Church of Hollis, UCC