“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel”…(Jeremiah 33:14ff)
I went out to the country and sat on the tailgate of my pickup to write this article. Even though is was a Sunday afternoon in February, there was already a hint of spring in the air. Too nice a day to sit inside. The water was trickling though the ditch; the birds were singing with gusto; the sun felt as strong as it did last October. My bones were telling me that winter, with all of its comfort-challenges, will soon be gone and more pleasant days will rule.
On a day such as this, I think of the prophets who, while often finding themselves in difficult, winter-like situations, were guided to look forward and say, “A day is surely coming” when God’s people will be restored and the fields will yield a harvest again. Much of God’s word that comes to us through the prophets is a word that turns us expectantly forward. Our faith life allows us to say that no matter how tough and trying today might be, God promises to walk with us through the rivers and fires (Is. 43). It’s good to remember that God desires that we prosper and do well and live happily with one another.
This month of March is a set of Lenten days in which the voice of the Church reminds us to look forward to the liberating promise of Easter: darkness gives way to the morning; death has been defeated; there is nothing that can separate us from the love that is ours through Christ Jesus our Lord. All of that and more as we gather down in our fellowship hall for a good meal together and then worship. We will agree on these Lenten Wednesdays that we too often forget the beauty and the importance of “others” (our Philippians 2 theme). We will admit that when we live selfishly, we are caught in winter winds. We will learn together, with God’s Spirit among us, that God’s mercy for each becomes the mercy and kindness we can become to friend and stranger alike.
I pray that our March Sundays and Wednesdays together will turn us toward the days that are coming. I especially am mindful of how our children will never forget a Lent properly observed. You’re here. God is here. I am here. Worship like sitting on a tailgate of a pickup truck just knowing, really feeling, that great days are ahead.
Pastor Greg Johnson