Psalm 85, one of the lectionary readings for this week, is a strong assurance of the steadfast love and faithfulness of God—no matter the season of life. Themes of restoration, righteousness, and peace convey that God will give what is good to those who place their lives in God’s hands. This blog bears witness to that reality.
This past Sunday I had the privilege of visiting Third Baptist Church in St. Louis, a remarkable church that is “in the city for good,” as their mission statement puts it. Over the years when I have visited this congregation, I have spent the Sunday School hour with Prayer Partners, a class populated by persons of differing abilities. Led by Linda and Howard Roos, this class finds significant ways to minister to one another, others in the congregation and neighborhood, and persons in a larger radius of connection. I am grateful to be in that larger circle.
Responding to their invitation to attend the class, I soon realized that they had planned a way to help me in my work of grief. The members of the class had collected things that had been helpful to them when they faced hardship and challenges. I received a bag full of treasures, painstakingly selected by these friends. A collection of angels to “watch over” me; cards and a letter; a written testimony of restoration; a flashlight to help me find light in darkness; a lovely cross to remind me that Jesus knows all about human sorrow; a box to store encouraging messages; and finally, a song sung: “One Day at a Time.” I asked each of the contributors to exegete their particular gift, and they told me of how God had preserved them through “many dangers, toils, and snares.” And most healing of all, one by one—haltingly, at times--they prayed for me. How blessed I was to receive this embodied revelation of God’s steadfast love!
I was reminded of the varied manifestations of the grace of God, which usually come to us through a sister or brother in faith, the word ever becoming flesh. Our hope and trust in God is fanned into flame as we receive the witness of those who have walked pathways longing for faith to become sight. Each of us has the spiritual resources to be an icon of grace to those in need. Indeed, this is the primary mode of God’s presence, the means by which God delights to be with us.
Molly T. Marshall
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