So there is a styrofoam cup sitting on the windowsill in my office. It has a smiley face on it...and the other day I noticed 3 blades of grass sprouting out.
I love spring...new beginnings, fresh starts and all the new growth. Everything seems to come out of its winter hibernation. Trees begin to bud, daffodils are blooming...all sorts of other spring flowers are bringing colors to walkways, gardens and yards.
As we continue this Lenten journey to the cross, to the death of Jesus and eagerly await his resurrection, we are moving through a winter time ourselves...we know what is coming. We know that Christ has been raised from the dead, we know that God conquered death to free us from our sins and to bring us to everlasting life, yet in the midst of waiting...we struggle with here and now.
We face natural disasters impacting Japan more than once...earthquakes around the globe, and close to home, we have said goodbye to people within our own community. We live in the promise of the resurrection, we walk in the hope and promise of Jesus, knowing that God did not send Jesus into the world to make it smooth sailing for us, but so that we may know that God is with us through thick and thin. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all that is going on in our lives and our world. When we feel like we have hit rock bottom, God is still present with us.
One of my seminary professors said it best as he shared the story of the loss of his wife to cancer. He truly struggled to pick up the pieces. His friends said to him, it's okay if you don't believe right now, we will believe for you.
That community, the community in the body of Christ, in the communion of saints, helps sustain us and nurture us when we feel weak and overwhelmed. The presence of God through the company of one another is God at work in our world, here and now. As you see others hurting, aching, grieving...just being near them is a comfort.
As we continue this journey together, be present with one another, around meals at your dinner table, gathered in the auditorium or bleachers, and gathered in the presence of one another around the Lord's Table...sharing the peace, singing hymns and praying together. Make your presence known to others...it may be the smile, touch or simple presence that lifts them up this day.