It happens sometimes, beginning right after Christmas. Lots of illness. Numerous deaths. It has been happening in our church family this year, for sure. Lots of colds and flu, to which I can personally attest. But most of those ailments are more of an aggravation than anything else. Most of us survive those. There’s also been lots of serious illnesses and hospitalizations, and some of those have led to death.
Yes, it happens sometimes in this darkest time of the year. I’ve seen it over many years. Just because we expect it doesn’t make it easy. Just because some of those who leave us have lived long lives, and maybe have been suffering poor health or dementia, doesn’t make it easy. It is never easy to lose the ones we love…it is never easy to confront mortality.
We’ll be confronting our mortality on Ash Wednesday, February 18, at 6:30 in the sanctuary. I urge you to be part of that. Denying our mortality doesn’t eliminate it. Acknowledging our mortality actually frees us to look to the One who gave us life, who holds our lives each day, and who provided an answer to our mortality on that first Easter.
I encourage you to read the Old Testament lesson assigned for this Sunday, Isaiah 40:21-31. It’s a powerful affirmation of the God of Creation, who also “gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless.” And those “who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles….”
This Sunday we also spend time once again in first chapter of Mark. We’ve seen Jesus establishing his ministry, teaching, preaching, and healing. There’s more of that, in Mark’s typical fast-paced style, enough to make even the reader tired at the thought of all the activity.
But this Sunday, in vss. 29-39, we find that Jesus stopped. He slept. He arose early and went away to “a deserted place,” and he prayed. Even Jesus needed rest. Even Jesus needed to re-connect with God, get his bearings, be reminded of his source and his strength, before he set out again in new directions.
So, I urge you, to realize that if Jesus needed to stop and pray, then certainly we do too! In a sense, stopping everything else to come to worship is doing that. So Sunday, join us as we stop the daily grind, as we turn our hearts to God, as we seek God’s will and way for our lives. Thus, we gain strength and direction together.
We are not alone. God is with us. We, as God’s people, make this journey together.
See you Sunday on the journey,