Rev.  Jan Bihl
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How can we stay resourceful, hopeful, and faith-full in this time?

 

Someone shared with me this week that they had a meltdown. This is a person who is normally upbeat…but these are hard times! We thought by now things would be different…back to “normal”. When we said back in early April, “the world is very different now,” most people, I think, assumed that by summer things would have settled down. But that hasn’t happened. We are faced with many challenges…escalating fear, uncertainty, rage (we now have “mask rage”)…the continued limitations on hugs, handshakes, and freedom of movement. In all this, if I don’t watch my thoughts, I can end up in a swirl of negative thoughts…My mind can glom onto a thought or belief that engenders fear or danger…and before I know it, my mind has planned a whole scenario…anything from changing the whole day plan to calling the national guard!!

 

Negativity can spread like wildfire. It can steal hope and joy and energy…and affect relationships, health and community. Why is it so easy to follow a negative or loss or scarcity thought or conversation? Well, it turns out that we need to work to stay resourceful and positive…to see the upside, to choose the “gain frame” (Alison Ledgerwood - TED Talk https://youtu.be/7XFLTDQ4JMk).

 

This is not new to people of faith. Paul teaches: “…you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. (Philippians 4: 8-9)

 

Often we are encouraged to “trust in the Lord with all your heart”. Jesus leads us into more life and light and love and hope. That requires our participation.

 

 

Connecting in Prayer

Prayer (from Thom Schuman, adapted by Rev. Jenn Swanson)

Living God:
when there is a famine in our souls, you feed us with grace;
when there are pockets of poverty in our love for others, you bless us with generosity;
when we are empty and alone, you move into our hearts.

Be with us in this time, when we are together and yet not.

When we can no longer greet each other with spontaneous hugs and enthusiastic handshakes…

when our face to face encounters are fraught with concern,

with physical distancing, with hyperawareness, and sometimes with suspicion.

Jesus, source of Love, teacher, servant leader…
open our hearts to those around us. Help us bridge the differences that divide,

support those who need us right now and teach us to listen and to be open.

We pray especially for those in our communities and families and friends circles

who are suffering in various ways…those in hospital and their loved ones left at home,

those who feel alone or unloved, those who feel lost or afraid, those who have no voice.

We offer the names we know

and those we do not to your hearing now….

Eternal Spirit:
you walk with us
wherever we go;
you take the fragments of our lives
and reshape us into holy people;
you are with us,
and not even death can separate us.

And for that and so much more…we are grateful. Amen.

Christ’s Light of

Grace, Peace,

Faith, Hope, and Love

to all.

Rev. Jan