Forget what happened long ago! Don't think about the past.
I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it?
I have put roads in deserts, streams in thirsty lands.
Isaiah 43:18-19 (CEV)
“There it is! Do you see it?”
Do you see it?
We are coming together in new and incredible ways. I am overwhelmed by the way God is providing for us right now. Aren’t you? It is right in front of us - an opportunity.
Have you ever experienced a kindness that you didn’t deserve? Maybe it is a childhood memory where your teacher forgave you for unfinished homework. Maybe it is a second chance - a friend that offered understanding when you let them down. Maybe it was someone that let you in front of them at the grocery store.
One of the most beautiful things about this time is watching the church come alive in ways that I never could have expected. I’ve been amazed by the number of emails and phone calls that our staff has received from those of you that want to help. It has been a source of abundant grace during these uncertain days.
I recognized grace yesterday in a variety of ways:
- I visited four different aquariums.
- I was inspired by a pastor's livestream in Raleigh.
- I read a blog from a friend in California.
- I watched Ryan Hamilton’s stand up special on Netflix and laughed, a lot.
- I got to control the live cam at the San Diego zoo.
- I made breakfast for my family.
- I spent time in my sacred space.
- I cried tears of gratitude.
- I witnessed small acts of kindness within my own household.
Through all of these things, I felt the presence of God. To be able to experience so many unique perspectives during this time. That is grace.
Several friends from Covenant have mentioned that when I preached on March 8, I joked about a church for introverts. Didn’t think it would come to fruition in such a powerful way, did you? I shared with you about my own vulnerabilities. I am called to ministry and I am also more comfortable behind the scenes. We talked about Mary Magdalene - and some women - and the ways they provided for Jesus.
Mary was called to ministry long before the resurrection. So are we.
Perhaps one of the main ways we can answer that calling is something that we could have been doing all along - offering grace. The ultimate expression of “passing the peace” is daily grace.
Offer grace to yourself: I have struggled with frustration and fear - my own immune system failures have left me unsure how to move forward. I’ve been extremely protective of my health and made unrealistic demands. I’ve been greatly bothered by the skeptics and those that don’t believe in the severity of this situation. And yet, I remember the times when I have been a nonbeliever. I remember the moments that I have needed to protect myself by denying realities. Has that ever happened to you? Have you ever felt unaware of your own fear? Have you ever looked back and realized that your actions didn’t reflect your heart? Forgive yourself.
Offer grace to others: Now more than ever, the world needs forgiveness and understanding. Don’t make assumptions about folks. Be a little kinder at the grocery store and traffic lights. Respect the reality that you don’t know everything. We don’t know the struggles that others will face on a daily basis. Treat every single one of them like they may be desperately in need of your kindness and understanding. Forgive others - even the ones who seem really angry. Forgive the ones that aren’t showing you the grace that you need.
God is making all things new in front of us. There it is. Do you see it?
Let us pray.
God of Grace,
You are making all things new. Transform us too.
Let us provide kindness and mercy at every opportunity.
We thank you for countless blessings. We receive your grace. Give us strength to offer the same to others.