Brian looked at the Sunday church bulletin as the congregation sang Amazing Grace, and read the sermon title, “Is God MIA?”
Boy, is that fitting, he thought. He sure seems to be missing in action, at least from our lives at the moment.
He didn’t realize that Ginny and Karl, and many others in the congregation felt the same way.
Bernie faced the congregation, and said,
“Please bow your heads as we pray a psalm of David: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of each heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue our Lenten journey into mid-March, my thoughts turn to St. Patrick for two reasons: first, my sister, Patricia, was born on St. Patrick’s Day; and second, like many of us, Patrick went through a time of spiritual dryness before he connected to God in a personal way. As most of you know, I was born in Ireland, so I have a soft spot for this saint.
We celebrate the festival of St. Patrick on March 17th, the traditional date of his death with Christians around the world. . . which reminds me,” she said with a twinkle in her eye . . . “Do you know why Irish girls don’t like to get engaged on St. Patrick’s Day?”
About twenty people shook their heads.
“Because they don’t want to get a sham rock.”
Bernie smiled at the ensuing twitters and groans. . . and continued her homily, ending with these words of encouragement.
“Now let me remind you before you leave this sacred space, that the words of Scripture provide assurance that God is always with us, even in times of despair and when he seems to be missing in action from our lives. He encourages us to hang on, to drink from the well of his amazing love as revealed to us in Scripture.
Patrick wrote that during his six years of slavery “Every day I had to tend sheep, and many times a day I prayed . . . I used to get up for prayer before daylight, through snow, through rain, and I felt no harm, and there was no sloth in me—as I now see, because the spirit within me was then fervent.”
When we pray, we lower our buckets into the bottomless well of God’s love for us and receive his living water. We receive encouragement to go on. We receive guidance from his Word. God puts people in our lives to assist us in our faith journey and in our struggles. We grow in faith and are assured that he will keep his promises and that he will be with us forever.
Now let’s pray the Prayer of St. Patrick: “May the strength of God pilot me. May the power of God preserve me. May the wisdom of God instruct me. May the hand of God protect me. May the way of God direct me. May the shield of God defend me. Amen.”
Liz had spoken to Marta three times on Monday morning—Kevin’s first day of being homeschooled. Marta reported that the LA Unified tutor, Mr. Morris, had arrived on time, a few minutes before 9:00 am, and that he worked with Kevin until noon with three five-minute breaks. Marta had reheated the homemade chicken noodle soup that Liz left to defrost on the counter, for Kevin’s lunch and Kevin had taken a nap afterwards.
Liz picked up Liam and Sean after school, and was home by 3 pm when Marta was just leaving. Kevin was rested and feeling well. As usual, Keller was waiting by the kitchen door for the rest of the family to arrive.
He barked a greeting, danced on his hind legs and then raced to his cabinet to make sure they all understood that it was time for his afternoon Greenie, that Brian called his pre-dinner “cocktail.”