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Pastor’s Pen

Do not worry. Do not be anxious. Peace be with you. I lift my eyes to the hills from where my help comes. The Lord is my Shepherd, and I shall want for nothing. God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.

         Every week a diverse and interesting group of women gather in one of the rooms of our stone Parish House to read scripture, tell stories and pray. We’ve been doing it for a long time. Pastors come and pastors go, but the women press onward.

         It’s an intimate thing, prayer. It’s hard to hold on to anger when you’re praying. It’s tough to nurse a grudge when sitting still with upturned palms. Somebody always has some awful thing to share, some tragedy of family, some neighbor in trouble, some crisis brewing somewhere in the world.

         We sit with it, in the knowing way of women. Without a word its clear that we’ll need to lean forward into this one, put our energies to bear on that one. Hold them all up to the light of Christ that makes possible, impossible things. We’ve lived long enough to understand the inevitability of loss, and yet we pray. We’ve traveled this road long enough to understand that things don’t always turn out the way we hope, and yet we pray.

         Isn’t that what faith is all about after all? Week in and week out, year after year, we gather to pray, and to trust this God with the whole of our measured days. There is no circumstance made by God nor human so difficult that God cannot redeem it, so desolate that God cannot flourish it to life.  You can count on that, whether you feel the consolation of the Holy One up under you, or not.

         Make no mistake, this gathering of women who pray are sustained by the Holy One through difficulties, but also by the spark of laughter that lingers at the corner of the imagination. One provoking word, and the gathering is as likely to burst into a fit of joy as anything else.

So often when we gather, I’m struck by the sustaining sturdiness of prayer, and by the promise that whatever happens to us, God is with us. As one mature woman shared of her favorite Bible verse, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And so we can.

Prayer: We thank you God for laughter and tears, for sustaining grace, fierce mercy and unaccountable peace. We cannot help but be grateful that you are God and that we are not. Your love is sufficient.

Amen

Pastor Anna V. Copeland