8 July 2020
It happened again, same song different day. A few weeks back I wrote about a song that was on my heart, a song I hadn’t thought of in years that had come to mind - the song was “Until Then.” Well, Tuesday evening, as I was searching my mind for how to put into words my prayers, the words “My heart can sing when I pause to remember. A heartache here is but a stepping stone...” (and the verse continues: “Along a trail that's winding always upward, this troubled world is not my final home.”) This is the first first stanza of the hymn that once again was on my mind.
Maybe it’s because I’m personally needing the reminder that no matter what, no matter the troubles going on around me, whatever is weighing me down, is not my final home, or final moment. There will be new moments that are God’s promise for us all to live in to. So, no matter what we are facing, what this moment looks like with personal issues, with racial inequality being revealed to us over and over and the pandemic, the call to show your love of neighbor by wearing a mask and some refusing to do so, we need that reminder, this trouble is not our final home.
I, too, need that reminder myself, this is not the final home, the final anything. Life, living into how God calls us to live, is home. Connecting to the Holy Spirit within us is where home is, doing the wonderfully satisfying work of serving others, is where home is; loving our neighbor (every neighbor) and our self is where home is, where home is standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves and all that springs from God. AND, get this, if ‘When I pause to remember this, my heart begins to sing...’ then I will know God a little better.
They hymn goes on in the refrain: “But until then my heart will go on singing, Until then with joy I’ll carry on. Until the day my eyes behold that city, Until the day, God calls me home.” How many of us are facing the day to day life of these times with joy in our hearts? How many of us can sing this song with gusto or at least start singing it, even in a whisper? How many have discovered the secret that life goes on, and God is with us, carrying us on home. I’m not talking about death and dying and an ethereal home. I’m talking about living a life in which our hearts feel at home. Yet nothing we do to chase that feeling can satisfy it without doing what God created us for. No matter the amount of money you have, if your political candidate wins, if the “news channel” you choose to watch supports your opinion or if you feel validated or vindicated, none of this creates home for the heart in a way for which God created us.
I often hear parents say, “I just want my son or daughter to be happy.” Sometimes I want to respond, “Then live in a way that shows them what true happiness is.” Live a life where serving others and positive relationships and deep concern for one another is the norm. Live a life seeking God’s peace and your kids, and all those around you for that matter, will want what you have and whether it is immediate or not, they will seek it too, because that is home for our hearts.
May you find a way to live so your heart can sing, if you but pause to remember that whatever bad things you are facing is not the place your heart calls home.
I say this and then it comes to my mind there are great examples before us all. During the ugliest times of slavery and disfunction the black community would come together and sing, pray, praise and worship God. This community had much to teach us all about faith and hope. Many had no reason to have hope, much less sing, and yet, they found their hope in the fact that those moments were not their final home. They still sing today and I hope we all can sing right along with them, that we have learned something from those that our society has treated the worst of the worst. That the ones on our social media feeds and the ones promoting hate and creating division in the streets are not the answer. For the people who remain to have hope, and so do we, because God is the final answer, those are the people who show us what longing for home is like.
As I write this today, more and more hymns of hope begin to come to mind, “His Eye is on the sparrow and I know he watches me,” “I sing because I’m happy, I sing because I’m free…” and “Lift every voice and sing, Lift ev'ry voice and sing, 'Til earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty, Let our rejoicing rise High as the list'ning skies Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us Facing the rising sun of our new day begun Let us march on 'til victory is won!”
What they all mean to me is that God wants for all our hearts to be at peace and at home, that is victory.
Thank you for being the people of faith you are. Thank you for your reminders to let my heart sing, to live into and offer your living examples of hope. For I believe we are all just walking each other home.
Peace and blessings for the journey always.
May we be able to say to each other…welcome home.
Would you pray for...
Your prayers are always appreciated. We update our prayer list weekly in the bulletin and when I send out our weekly Saints & Sinners eNews, I try to include recent updates as well asking for thoughts and prayers. This week, I have learned of two deaths in our community: Ken Heinbach, a community member who’s family participates in the life of our community of faith; and Sonny Fisher, a member of Saint Paul’s. Additionally, the young life of Aaron Vansickle was remembered by friends yesterday evening and will continue to be remembered for days and weeks to come. We celebrate opportunities to be the church and ask that you keep your church family in your prayers and ask the Holy Spirit to lead us in our ministries always. Please know you are loved and beloved and being prayed for this day and always.
A few announcements for you to keep in mind:
Saint Paul’s is in the national UCC News “Keeping You Posted.” It’s a great article about the work churches are doing in the community, especially during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and I am thankful for good news stories such as this and all everyone does to create and live in to love of neighbor! Check out the article if you have time. Here’s the link to the story:
I received word this morning that all books for the new Midweek Musings and Theology study will not be in until next Wednesday, July 15. I sincerely apologize for this delay. I would ask that we plan on meeting next Wednesday, via Zoom to begin an introductory discussion. Then get the books out allowing everyone to read before the following session on July 22. If you would like to order the book via an online resource, the book is: “Anxious to Talk About It: Helping White Christians Talk Faithfully About Racism” by C. B. Helsel. For now we will continue to meet via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433.
Tomorrow, Thursday, July 9 is Fresh Express. We invite you to participate with us as you are able in sharing your time or gifts to assist in this ministry. We will receive, sort, pack and distribute food to many in our community beginning at 2 p.m. on Thursday. Please keep all involved in your prayers.
Sunday, July 12, we will worship together at 10:30 a.m. via Facebook LIVE when we will hear the message “The Circle of Life” and then on Sunday evening at 6 p.m. we will meet at Dale’s Ridge, Lewisburg for a guided, socially distanced hike. We have two guides so the group may both hear and experience the trail appropriately socially distanced.
On Monday, we continue with our Monday morning preacher Bible Study and all are welcome. 10:30 a.m. via Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/5705681433.
And plan now for our next outdoor Intergenerational Vacation Bible School, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. July 26 at Milton State Park. The theme for this gathering will be “water” and Miss Colleen will lead us in another great gathering.
And if you’re really planning ahead, August 10, will be another great Family Gathering for a cookout, pool party and movie as long as we are able to practice safe social distancing and still be in fellowship.
Remember stay safe, be well, know you are loved and beloved and we will be together soon.