3: I am with you #Lent2021

“Remember: I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

For me it’s been a year beyond words. Bushfires which left me reeling; we had driven to southern NSW the September earlier and had felt so unsettled by the unusually dry spring in Gippsland and up through southern NSW. All things COVID: the news, the lockdowns and the continued havoc of COVID overseas. Family and close friends dealing with significant health issues.

I have struggled to feel clarity about how God is at work in my life in this last year. When I look back, the marks of faith and spirit that have steadied my reeling and provided a sense of shalom have been more about the heart / symbolic in nature.

A few marks – In the zoom Sanctuary services, when we couldn’t sing together, Alison would often play some beautiful Celtic/choral renditions of hymns / songs. ‘Lo, I am with you’ (based on Matthew 28:20) was one song that resonated deep in my bones and I sat present to the song, to someone singing in a reminder of the presence of God through all circumstances. Being in creation, whether tending to our productive garden, watching our kids surfing in the ocean, or camping in the deep heart of the Grampians, I sensed the deep goodness of creation and love that God has for our earth. I couldn’t find words to pray for family and close friends dealing with significant issues of health, but I could hold an image of them in my mind, held tenderly in the arms of God.

And most recently the poem of Amanda Gorman at the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris with the reminder of Micah 4:4 that, in the kingdom vision, people shall sit under their own grape vine and fig tree and not be afraid. It was a gentle reassurance that what Greg and I strive for in our faith still matters, despite crises and pandemics and our own human response to this upheaval. To care for people, here and through Greg’s work at Tearfund in developing countries, and to participate in acts of care to restore and protect creation. Ω

Reflect: What marks of faith and spirit have steadied you recently? What provides you with a sense of shalom (peace, wellbeing, wholeness)?

What is this? Lent is the 40 days, excluding Sundays, before Easter. Traditionally it is a time of intense reflection and pilgrimage. To help you on this journey, Sanctuary has put together 40 stories from people both within and beyond the congregation, with associated questions for reflection and prayer. A reading will be uploaded every day of Lent.

#Lent2021. Real People, Real Stories: 40 Readings for Lent © Sanctuary, 2021. Image credit: Rachel Coyne on Unsplash.

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