Dearly Beloved, Grace and Peace to you. As Pharaoh drew near, the Israelites looked back, and there were the Egyptians advancing on them. In great fear the Israelites cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness?” … But the Israelites walked on dry ground through the sea... — Exodus 14.10-11, 29 A great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?" —Mark 4. 37-38
We walk through the valley of the shadow of death. We strain at the oars of our little boat against a tempestuous sea. We wake in the darkest depths of the night. We suffer difficulties, losses, even despair. And through it all the Infinite Presence, the One who Accompanies Us, whispers in our hearts, “Peace. Be still. This is not where the story ends. Yours is not a story of tragedy, of life diminished into misery and meaninglessness. Yours is a story of abundant life, slowly unfolding. It is a process, a journey. This is merely a passage. I am bringing you through this narrow place into a broad and spacious place. I am bringing you through this valley of tears to a meadow of rejoicing. You cannot arrive without first traveling. You must walk this path, and pass through these dark places. There are rough steps along the way. But I am leading you out of this place into another. Every step, even the fearful ones, even those of suffering and loss, are steps by which I come with you closer to the place of your deepest delight. Your pain is real, and I do not begrudge your despair. But trust this: whether or not you feel it, I am with you. Every step toward blessing is blessing. Walk with me, and let the walking itself give you courage.” And so, picking up the little bundle of our hearts, we go, hand in hand with the Loving Mystery, the morning light dawning slowly, silently, about us.
Deep Blessings, Pastor Steve
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