A Slow Rain

September 24, 2011

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.            Psalm 126: 4 - 6 The dry, worn, waterless land is drenched with water upon water. Beginning with Hurricane Irene, the drought has ended. Today, we sit in our children's home at the river. Rocking on the front porch with pizza, a glass of red wine, and football in the background, there is a slow rain falling. Filling up the gullies and the ditches, the watercourses of the Neuse flow - not with a torrent, but with a gentleness that soothes the soul. Like a mother's tears the rain gently comes. The car in the driveway below is loaded with all the worship supplies, the office, and the many things we need for the Academy for Spiritual Formation that will begin at Trinity Center tomorrow. The past month, and most especially the past week- and -a- half have been so wall-to-wall with challenge, I told Tom I felt like a bowling pin while the strikes keep coming. In the past week we have dealt with serious mental health issues of a close family member... what the doctors call a "psychotic episode." The group home in which he lives is being foreclosed on, so the scramble was on to find another living place. Another resident in the home needed to move also. Her belongings sit in our living room at home awaiting her finding another residence. Wednesday morning, the call came for me to come and help dear family friends in the tragic death of their daughter's husband. I knew the couple well.... I had performed their wedding not quite six years ago. How do you comfort at 35 year old widow who has just finished her education and has planned a long life with the one to whom she vowed faithfulness "until we are parted by death." I had a long phone call with an older man in the church. He lives alone.... a former astro-physics professor suffering from macular degeneration. "What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life? How will I spend the rest of my life? " He asks. The visit with another church member took the shape of a deep sharing at soul level with one whose cancer has returned with a vengeance. She is at peace in the "contract" God made with her at the beginning of her life. She is planning to live the contract as fully as possible. Amid all this torrent of emotion, there is prayer.... for the young woman who awaits a diagnosis that will define her, and for a precious dog who has just had a biopsy that may tell us he has liver cancer. I have often taught that the common denominator of human life is suffering. Where can we go but to the Lord who reminds me in a slow rain that pain is soothed in God's tears and hope is just behind the clouds. Goodness IS stronger than evil and in re-membering, I turn to God for strength and restoration.  Thanks be to God. Amen.

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A Quiet Night and Peace at the Last
October 2, 2011

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September 11, 2011