Have you had any “God moments” lately? Those tiny moments where you feel God’s presence…through a sign on the road, or a smell that reminds you of someone long gone, or even a confirmation of a prayer you’ve whispered for months? I had a God moment last week that I’ve remembered to share with you. While looking through the Lectionary texts for this Sunday’s Worship and sermon direction, I saw Psalm 78:1-7 on the November 8 schedule. While reading it, I paused and reread the same verse a few times:
God established a decree in Jacob,
and appointed a law in Israel,
which God commanded our ancestors
to teach to their children;
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and rise up and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God,
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
You see, I had just named off on all my fingers (and toes) all of the things I was concerned about. Do you ever do that? Sometimes I just have to name the things stressing me out loud to God, and this ultimately helps me de-stress but also diminish the power of these concerns. They were worries about COVID-19, the election, family, friends, juggling life, health, etc. And they were swirling in my head and bringing me DOWN. With a growing list, I was feeling hopelessness and negativity creep in.
When you’re overwhelmed, what is the easiest thing to do? Toss your worries to the floor and plop your body on a soft landing (chair, preferably). And breathe. Pause. Feel. Pray a lot (invite God in).
And my God moment was in that place…I had plopped down, had dropped my burdens in front of Christ, and I wearily looked up Psalm 78. And then God spoke clearly.
Rise up with hope.
We must put down our burdens and responsibilities and rest with God. Otherwise, we will spin out of control (and we all have our moments!). And, once I put DOWN the stresses and let God in to what is really going on inside of me, I was able to then Rise Up With Hope. The psalmist mentions the next generation rising up and setting our hope in God. The passage does not say to drop everything and ignore it, kick it across the room, or to go all “everything’s perfectly fine” smiling when it is not. The psalmist teaches us to 1) rise up and 2) set hope in God. For, only then, can we pick up the 37 things that are worrying/bothering/making us lose sleep at night and start to work through them with peace in our hearts and determination in our souls. That whole loving justice thing that Jesus did. So when we plop down, may we also seek God’s strength to rise in hope.
The US election results have come, yet I write this while we’re still in October. And, while the election is very important for our country, it is not more important than the need to take care of yourself, rest, and rise in hope with Christ alongside you. Take comfort in Psalm 78, in the legacy of Christ’s light that each of us are invited to be a part of. Then, we get busy in living that out. We rise up in hope for today and tomorrow. Thanks be to God.
Happy Weekend, beloved hope risers!