For those who read this regularly (hi, mom!), I’m sorry for the long absence. This summer has been hard. I’ve not been great. But I’m working on it and more importantly, I know I’m not alone.
Yesterday in The Net at Providence UMC we had a powerful service. If you weren’t there or haven’t seen it yet, click here for a really meaningful time of God showing up!! There was a lot going on, a lot that meant so much to me personally.
I closed out a series on the Psalms by reading Psalm 30. The sermon was titled “Psalms for Getting Back.” The idea is that this Psalm is written by a teacher who has lived what she is teaching. The writer has known times of wonder (vv. 1-5, 11-12) but as all of us know, life isn’t just wonder and glee. Life can be hard and the psalmist knows this too (vv. 6-10).
If last weeks sermon (click here) was about “giving God the business” sometimes, this week continues in that thought, but there seems to be more grit, more panache to it. Yes, we are honest and bring our full-authentic-selves to God. But we also do so not just to vent, but with hope and optimism that God has been here with us. God knows and wills good for us.
“Weeping may stay all night, but by morning joy” (Psalm 30:5)
Sick & Tired
Have you ever heard that saying, “I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired?” Pardon the overshare, but that’s how I’ve been feeling lately: sick & tired. But I’m ready to be well or at least better. I’m determined and motivated to be healthier, practice better habits, put myself in the way of grace and beauty and joy and love and peace — O how I want peace in me and our world. I’m ready to get back.
Lord, listen and have mercy on me! Lord, be my helper! (Psalm 30:10)
We used a different bread for communion yesterday and We. Made. A. Mess! It was everywhere. There were bread crumbs all over the floor. People were getting flakey, crumbly bread to dip in the cup and it was a gorgeous communion mess.
After serving everyone, I noticed the crumbs all over the table, my shirt and the floor. It hit me as I stood up there, “this is how we get back.” What I mean is that when we are feeling sick and tired, when we don’t feel good, when we just want to get back it can be really hard. Maybe you’re like me in that sometimes you don’t know where to begin. Maybe you don’t feel like you have the energy, the motivation. Maybe you feel like you have nothing more than crumbs on the floor to offer.
But that’s enough. In fact, it’s just perfect for getting back, for being well, for living a life that’s full. If Psalm 30 teaches me anything, it’s that the way “back” (and I don’t mean looking in the past or trying to be something you were 10 years ago) is through honesty and vulnerability.
Our bread crumbs, our honest and tired sharing, our real and vulnerable presence is enough. It’s precious. It’s beautiful. It’s the only way back to a life that is deep and meaningful in pain and joy, mystery and wonder, hardship and celebration.
I know this post is all over the place, but yesterday seemed important for me. It was an honest time of being real with others (see the sermon) and trusting that’s good enough.
It was a vulnerable time of not needing everything to be perfect, just wanting everyone to be present.
Wherever you are right now, stop. Stop the hustle and grind. Stop projecting your “best self” and be your honest self. Share with a friend (I’m around!). Connect with your family. Come to church. Read, pray, meditate. Center yourself on this truth: “You changed my mourning into dancing” (Psalm 30:11). God is still in the habit of changing lives even if the reality of your life doesn’t change. Always and every time profound change starts within us, not outside.
So if you are ready to get back, if you are sick and tired of being sick and tired, and if you feel like you don’t have more than a crumb to offer, that’s enough. You’re enough. Your life and your presence are needed — on top of that, it’s wanted by me and so many more!
I love you. We got this. “Lord, my God, I will give thanks to you forever” (Psalm 30:12).
Grace & Peace, Pastor Cole