I could write a reflection about what I preached on yesterday, but that would miss the heart of what really happened. Yesterday, love showed up! Love showed up and it was precious. It was life-giving. It was beautiful and hard. It was refreshing.
I encourage you to click here and skip to 55:00 to watch Dan, Katie and Mary Wiley share their story.
Through their vulnerable sharing, they offer us a chance to journey alongside them. Then, through the earnest prayers of their church family, there was a true moment of community and genuine love.
That is what yesterday was about. I couldn’t have added or taken away from that moment because it was so filled with God’s presence that I think all who were there left feeling refreshed.
It made me appreciate those tender moments when we — humans, people, imperfect beings — get to truly connect with another soul. These moments don’t happen every day, but when they do happen, it makes you hungry for more.
I am hungry. I want to be in that place again and again because I left feeling so satisfied, so complete in God’s love and mercy and care.
Where do you feel that refreshing love? Where do you feel that satisfaction that only comes from an encounter with God?
If you haven’t felt it for a while, you are not alone. Look no further than the news from last week to read about people who are so desperate for connection that they lash out.
Too often we replace true connection for cheap hatred. When rancor and hate are what connects us, it always ends in pain. But when love and caring motivate us, we can begin to see what ties us together rather than what tears us apart.
Lamentations 3:22-24 says, “Certainly the faithful love of the Lord hasn’t ended; certainly God’s compassion isn’t through! They are renewed every morning. Great is your faithfulness. I think: the Lord is my portion! Therefore, I’ll wait for him.”
When your newsfeed is full of ugliness, when the papers are brimming with pain, when you find yourself feeling alone and empty, reach out. Call me. Call a friend. Go to church. Say a quick prayer. All around us is teaming with possibility: possibility for hope, grace, joy, beauty, refreshing love.
It will be hard sometimes. That is the human condition. But you are not alone. Did you hear that? You are NOT alone. Yesterday was a reminder that when we are vulnerable and share our pain with others, they won’t always judge us or take advantage of our pain. Sometimes, they will come right beside you, put their hands on you, and we all will be filled with refreshing love.
Grace & Peace, Pastor Cole
Photo Credit: Lauren Jones 🙂
P.S. This may look like a reused picture, but this is another time of prayer for different people! We just love to pray in The Net at Providence UMC.
P.S.S. If you want to hear a song that goes along so well with the idea of “refreshing love,” click here.