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Sermons/Devotional Words are preached within the context of a particular worship service, and are most meaningful when experienced in that way. We encourage you to view or listen to the entire worship service.
December 1, 2021
Luke 21:25-36Worship Service Video Devotional Word Audio Devotional Word Text
Not everyone knows this yet, but I have a new great niece – her name is Ria. She was born about a month ago and she lives in Texas with her parents.
She is beautiful and healthy and everything we all hoped for, but her mom – my niece – has had some health complications and was in the hospital for almost a week and a half over Thanksgiving. She is now home and recovering, and Ria’s dad has been able to go back to work, so things are starting to level out, and my stepmom is there for a bit to help them.
Our family knows that my niece and her family don’t have much and that they need help, so we’ve been asking what we can send. And while I was writing this reflection, my stepmom texted me and said, “They need a lot of household basics, but baby formula is the #1 priority.” And since I was sitting at my computer – Amazon Prime to the rescue.
But as I triple-checked to make sure I was ordering the right stuff, and putting in their address correctly, I prayed, “I hope this gives them some breathing space.”
I don’t have kids of my own, but I do know what it’s like to not have breathing space – that feeling when everything hits all at once and how consuming that can be, and how sweet the relief is when you’re able to pause even just for a minute and take a breath. And I think most of us can relate to that.
As people of faith, we often turn to scripture in those moments looking for reassurance and to be reminded of God’s faithfulness to us. But when we come across a reading like tonight’s Gospel, it’s easy to focus on the scary parts – the distress, the confusion, and the sense of foreboding – and instead of reassuring us, it can amp up our anxiety and make it feel like it’s hard even just to breathe.
It’s enough to make you want to put it down and just walk away. Especially at this time of year.
But when we spend time with readings like this, we notice that there’s more to them than what’s on the surface and we find a deeper meaning of what’s being said. And in tonight’s reading, along with the chaos and confusion, there are words of encouragement for Jesus’ followers: pay attention to what’s going on around you – because it’s real, but don’t let your heart get stuck there. Remember who you are, and remember who God is.
In our lives as Jesus’ disciples, we spend most of our time doing boring, mundane things – running errands, doing laundry, doing homework, waiting in line at the grocery store, ordering baby formula on Amazon…things we don’t really think about because they’re just a part of daily living.
We know how hectic things can get, even with just the day-to-day tasks of living. And that when a crisis – or two, or five, gets thrown in there – it’s sometimes all we can do to just keep our head above water.
But as people of faith – for us – woven into day-to-day life are prayer, worship, time spent with others in Christian community, time spent with God. Things that help us remember we aren’t in this alone. Things that strengthen us against being weighed down by the stuff life throws at us. Things that help us face what’s happening, and get us through when it’s sometimes hard even just to breathe. Things that build us up in our life with Jesus.
In this season, when life can be even more chaotic than it already is, my prayer for you is that you’re able to find some breathing space. That you’re reminded of who you are and who God is. And even if it’s just for a moment, that you’re able to pause, and to rest, and to breathe. Amen.