Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

Just that, Lord ...

Another prayer from Nadia Bolz-Weber:

Holy God hear my intercessions,

For those who are giving birth alone;

for those who are grieving without their people;

for the beleaguered parents who ran out of creative ideas two weeks ago;

for those who don't know where this week’s grocery money will come from;

for everyone who has watched the date of their wedding, or their graduation, or their birthday, or their dissertation defense, or their long hoped for vacation, or their family reunion, or the “non-essential” medical procedure they hoped would change their life, come and go;

for the exhausted and the despairing,

I ask that your comfort, your presence, and your peace be felt.

And if that’s not possible, could you just nudge the right person to reach out and call them?

Just that Lord.

Just that?

AMEN.

Everything takes longer ...

It's Monday.

I think it is the 5th or 6th Monday since we shut down our country and I am still not in any kind of groove with my life.

One thing I am noticing: Everything takes longer.

Take grocery shopping, for instance.

What I would usually do in a quick hour or two took my entire morning today.

Washing my hands, masking up, planning our list, wiping off the cart, trying to get the plastic vegetable bags to open without licking my fingers (so MANY MINUTES!), attempting and failing to follow the arrows on the floor of the grocery aisles, swerving to stay 6 feet apart from other shoppers, pondering whether or not I should really buy an item, waiting for the very kind check-out person to completely spray down the little conveyer belt, packing up the car, returning the cart to a new location so it can be disinfected, spraying hand sanitizer on my hands, driving home and carefully unloading it all, careful to wash down the produce extra well ...

I looked up and it was well after noon!

I was upset with myself for not being more efficient!

I internally berated myself for being slow, sluggish, behind ...

It wasn't until I was able to sit down at my desk and take a breath that I came to my senses.

This is not about me.

This is not about something internally wrong or deficient with me.

This is about a new normal and about doing things in such a way that I protect my neighbor and myself.

So I whispered:

"It is ok."

You are not behind.

You have nowhere to go anyway.

No one is judging you.

Everyone else is working too hard to judge you.

This is not your fault.

Slow down ... breathe ... relax. 

You did as well as you could do.

It is ok."

Wondering if any of you need to whisper these same words to yourself right now?

About schooling your own kiddos?

About too many Zoom meetings?

About dealing with an overly full, or an overly empty, home?

About doing errands that take six hours as opposed to one?

Where do you need to treat yourself with kindness and compassion?

Where might you need to speak to yourself as if you were an exhausted child or a dear friend?

Sit down.

Take a deep breath.

Relax your shoulders.

Everything takes longer right now.

Whisper to yourself:

"It is ok. You are ok. You are doing the best you can."

Hugs from me to you.

 

A God of abundance ...

the end of our little journey through psalm 23

You drench my head with oil; my cup overflows the brim.

Surely goodness and kindness will accompany me all the days of my life

and I will dwell in the house of the Holy for the length of my days.

Three final lines of this beautiful Psalm,

one expressing abundance,

one accompaniment,

and one the sense of being at home.

Let's look at the first of the three:

To place oil on one's head, during the time of the Psalmist,

is a sign, a symbol of God's anointing, God's favor, God's presence and power.

King David says that God "drenches his head with oil."

This to me is a picture of abundance.

To add to this, David adds the image of having his cup overflow ...

Isn't that beautiful?

God is a God of much-ness. 

He is not stingy with his presence, his power, his favor.

He is a God who drenches with blessing.

A God who pours his goodness into the cup of our lives until it "overflows the brim."

Watch for this in your life today - where is your cup overflowing the brim?

Second line:

David is confident, even though he is walking through the valley, overshadowed by death,

that God's goodness and kindness have not left him.

These two things accompany him every single day he lives.

I picture my mom accompanying my son when he played his violin in his grade school talent show. Her strong, steady hands on the piano while he fiddled away on his pint-sized violin, her eyes never leaving his presence. When he slowed down, so did she. When he sped up, she did, too. When he got lost or confused, she led the way.

God's kindness and goodness accompany us through all the days of our life - the slow days, the days we trip over the notes, the days we speed through.

These two essential things - kindness and goodness - never leave us.

Watch for these two things in your life today. Where do you see kindness? Where do you experience goodness?

And the final line:

We can be "at home" with God for the length of our days.

All of creation is the house of God.

David is not talking about a church or a temple or a synagogue or some kind of set-apart location.

He is saying, no matter where we go, no matter where life plunks us, we can be "at home" with God.

And maybe, in the end, this is enough.

Acknowledge today that no matter where you are, you can be at home with God.