Hopefully by the time you are reading this, we've made our way out of the Polar Vortex! It has been a surprising January. Mild winter in December, then winter with a vengeance in January, then back into the high 30s/40s! When I think of winters - and Midwesterners - the word that often comes to mind is "resilience."
We might not like our long winters, but we manage to get through them: all the while looking forward to those first signs of Spring. This is resilience. The ability to keep going and to look ahead.
This theme of resilience can translate into our personal and spiritual lives, too. We all have seasons of life that are a struggle. Some seasons of life seem like an endless winter: Perhaps we've hit some bumps in the road of life...are dealing with personal, professional, or health issues...or just don't feel overly joyous.
It is at these times our faith can give us strength. Jesus says to us, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) That is a solid promise, one that we can lean on when times are rough. Furthermore, "So we can say with confidence, 'The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid' " (Hebrews 13:6).
Webster defines resilience as "the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched."
Our "original form" as Christians lies in our belovedness. God calls us good, God calls creation good, and yet sometimes we can forget that. Our original form is that of beloved children of a loving God.
What has perhaps bent, compressed or stretched you lately? Do you feel bent out of shape over something? Are you compressed by the stresses and demands of life? Are you feeling stretched thin financially or emotionally?
The good news is that our faith grants us resilience. Life might throw us curveballs yes...but with faith, prayer and the support of community, we can experience hope and renewal.
That is my prayer for you, for us, for our communities: That as we continue to gather for worship and fellowship and service, we may continue to be rooted and grounded in love!
In this month of Valentines and hearts and caring, let us remember Jesus' deep love for us and this world. In the words of that old Sunday School song..."Love love, love...that's what it's all about!"
God's peace to you,
Pastor Maren Hooper