Thanksgiving weekend. We’ve all sated ourselves with turkey and potatoes or maybe your preference is stuffing. There’re cranberries and green beans cooked several dozen different ways. And pies. Don’t forget the pies. Frankly it’s all a little overwhelming.
Sounds a lot like life these days doesn’t it? I hope you all managed a drama free turkey day. Unfortunately, my son tried to create a sense of levity and . . . let’s just say my sister is tense and leave it at that. But a lot of people are tense these days, worried about the next four years, worried about how their neighbors will handle the next four years, and worries about what tomorrow will bring. It can be tough to be grateful when the least little thing you say can make someone’s head spin around 360 degrees.
Things like this sure can make it hard to feel grateful even if it is Thanksgiving weekend. Fortunately, if we keep our eyes and ears open we will find the tools we need close at hand. God is, after all, paying attention to us even when we aren’t paying attention to him. He makes sure what we need is there. We just need to look and listen.
In the Presbyterian church, we begin the service with a Call or responsive reading. There are hymns, prayers, more readings, scripture and the sermon. I am always amazed at how something in the service fulfills a need.
Last Sunday, the Call was based on Psalm 46. Here are verses 1 – 3.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
The liturgist read and we responded. God is our refuge. No fear. Though mountains shake. God is here.
If that Psalm had been written today, I imagine it would be somewhat different. “God is our refuge and strength, our help now in our time of trouble. Though politicians and their supporters scream and peck and tear, shout and insult, lie and fabricate. No matter how deeply we fear for tomorrow, God is stronger than all of this.”
No matter what is going on, God is here. Things may be in turmoil, but God is here. And he is mighty.
I read this and I took a deep breath. That’s right. Me and my deep breathing. What can I say? Yoga has had an impact. But this reading really calmed me. In my mind’s eye, I had a sense of God’s power and presence, a deep rumble of might tempered with mercy.
God is here. This doesn’t mean that the days ahead will be easy, but he is here. This doesn’t mean we have no work ahead of us, but he is here. It doesn’t even mean things will be easy, but he is here. And if God is beside us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)
Take comfort. Give thanks. We may be in the midst of turmoil, but God is here. Give thanks!