This week Scarlett asked us to look for moments where we see God. Normally, I am very visual. I’m also becoming more and more hard of hearing. So I expected to see God all around me. I thought the visual aspects of daily life and getting a small group together on a video conference would be where I noticed God the most. However, looking (and listening) back at this week, it is the sounds not the sights that have reminded me of God’s grace.

Sunday morning when I walked into the Sanctuary, Glynis was already there playing the piano. She asked if she needed to stop for me to set up to video Pastor Scarlett.  My quick response was for her to keep playing. I needed to hear that music that brought for the lyrics:

My life flows on in endless song

Above earth’s lamentation

I catch the sweet though far off hymn

That hails a new creation

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that rock I’m clinging

Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing

Through all the tumult and the strife

I hear that music ringing

It finds an echo in my soul

How can I keep from singing

No storm can shake my inmost calm

While to that rock I’m clinging

Since Love is Lord of heaven and earth

How can I keep from singing

Paul Lowery
Public Domain

The music and lyrics of “How Can I Keep From SInging” reminded me that it is not our circumstances that bring us joy. It is grace – the power and presence of Jesus Christ in our lives. Grace transforms us by grounding us to the reality of God’s transcendent power. Grace opens our hearts to encounter the world and those in the world through a new perspective. Grace is what makes us look to the future with hope. In these difficult times, grace is what helps us find assurance and joy.

         

Sunday evening, Daryl and I stopped by the beach. It was gray and dreary. All was quiet except the roar of the tide. I realized that the sound of the waves offered the comforting reassurance of a steady rhythm. I’ve noticed in these quieter days that I can occasionally hear the ocean at the parsonage. It isn’t unusual for me to hear the ocean in the middle of the night, but the steady roar of traffic on Business 17 usually drowns the ocean out during the day. Just as the tide roars steadily, God is present and is eternal, present in our midst if we just listen with open hearts.

I heard open hearts when I finally got one of my small groups on a video conference. I expected that seeing each other’s faces would be what would bring me the most joy. Instead, I heard determination and the need for connection. My “tech challenged group” worked hard to learn to connect on Zoom. It wasn’t easy but they tried and the vast majority were finally together on my screen on Tuesday afternoon. The smiles were beautiful as I expected, but the sound of their laughter together was most meaningful to me. Each one’s laugh blended with the others into a joyful noise.

I also heard hope, determination, and joy when I called some of our members who are in that high risk group to check on them. They laughed. They told me how they were coping, and they shared stories that I had not heard before. I put the phone down and realized that I was smiling.

It is easy for the busyness of daily life and the world around me to muffle and insulate me from what I need to hear. I hear the bad news and angry tones on the news. I hear the sounds of violence in a movie. I hear the sound of discouragement in voices on the phone. This week I heard something come through and over the sounds of separation and division. Through Scripture, song, laughter, and whispers I heard what we all need to hear. We need to hear God proclaim, “My beloved child, keep singing!” Listen, you can hear it.

God who spoke creation into being, speak to us in your still small voice. Still us so that we hear more than our own movement. As we still ourselves, open our ears so that we may hear the good news of your grace in stories of Jesus, in the world around us, and in the voice of those we love. Let us hear you reassure us over the fear and silence of isolation. Whisper to us, “I love you!”  Move us to share this news with others who need to hear that they are loved more than they can imagine. For you love each of us enough to send Jesus to remove the barriers between us and teach us how to converse with you. Amen.

Pastor Laura

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ANNOUNCEMENT

Sunday Worship Service Hours

To allow for a fuller worship opportunity on Sunday morning, this will be our worship schedule beginning Sunday, August 16, 2020. If you prefer to watch us on Facebook Live, our traditional worship music will begin 10 minutes before the service (approx.10:35 AM).

8:30 AM Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary
10:45 AM Traditional Worship in the Sanctuary
11:30 AM Contemporary Worship in the Family Life Center (FLC)

*Please review our COVID-19 Open Doors Guidelines
And fill out our weekly attendance survey to let us know if you plan to join us for in-person worship this Sunday, Sept. 27.