2024-02-22 11:34:39

2024-02-22 11:34:39

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Sound of the WavesSound of the Waves

In the still of the night, the sound of the waves seems exaggerated, crashing on the shore, rolling along the coast, breaking in a rhythmic crescendo. When the routine noises of the day are hushed, I can hear the waves more clearly, trace their regular arrival on the beach. It’s interesting how the surf can dominate my hearing during the night and fade completely at other times, even when I’ve walking beside the sea. If I’m with a friend or intent on my own thoughts, the sound fades from awareness and I move in silence. But here in the deepness of night, the waves move into my mind’s shore, calling my attention and making it difficult to attend to anything else. God’s presence has come upon me like that—not often, but sometimes. I have felt a spirit speaking within, louder than the distractions of the day. What I hear may be directive, urging me to specific behavior, or it may be reassuring, letting me know I am loved and forgiven. The wordless feelings come with calm authority, not in anger or hopelessness. Thank you, Lord, for giving me the sense of your presence in my life. Help me seek you out in quiet times and make a permanent place for you in my world. Amen.

God’s GraceGod’s Grace

The island is awash in wild flowers now, splashes of color line the road, displaying their palette even in the piney woods on the bay.  No one plants these seeds, no one tends them; they must endure drought and cold, surviving intense heat and salt spray, super-heated summer winds.  They are a gift, these lovely flowers, a gift given freely and generously.  I think of them as a reminder of God’s grace, free for the taking, available to all, a gift that exists under the most severe and extreme conditions, outlasting any other gift possibly conceived.  Thank you, Lord, for these blooms that sweeten my days, and thank you for the gift of your grace that promises me an eternity shared with you. Amen.

Emmanuel: God is With UsEmmanuel: God is With Us

Dear Heavenly Father—Christmas is a time to reminisce, to remember the past and celebrate early days. But Christmas is equally a time to look forward. The birth of Jesus itself was prophesied by sages centuries earlier, people who saw the promise Jesus would fulfill. The angels predicted Jesus’ purpose to Mary and Joseph, to the Shepherds, to the Wise Men. They looked ahead and reported what they saw in the future.

Jesus was not “Super Baby” who lifted strong men and performed crib-side miracles; he had a purpose assigned to him, and he continued to fulfill that purpose. It was to Jerusalem he was going, and all that happened there was part of his future. From the beginning he looked ahead, and lived his life with that future in mind.

As a church also we think of the future. What is our purpose on this island, in this county? What can we do to fulfill our purpose, to be true to the mission Christ has placed upon us? How do we grow? How do we minister? How do we best serve the world around us?

Finally, as individuals too we are called upon to consider our futures at this blessed time. Emmanuel means ‘God with us’—but what does God being with us mean? What does God’s immediate presence allow us to do? How can we make decisions that best define that God is with us?

On this Holy night, may each of us consider what Emanuel means and how it will affect our lives, change our lives. May we live each day demonstrating to all others that God is with us, and that our lives reveal His presence. May this Christmas become the Christmas that was different, one where we are different, and may God’s presence with us be clear to all who meet us. May we face the future with the sure knowledge—Emmanuel—God with us. Amen.