The Revs. Smiths’ Message for October 18, 2020

Dear Friends,

Who could escape the sobering news of continuingly rising figures of COVID-19 infection, and the nagging sense we all seem to be getting that this will get worse before it gets better, and will be with us for some time to come.  While it is hard at times to sense, one thing we can lean on is the assurance that God is with us in all that we have to endure.

(Part of the) Fishermen’s Window, St Margaret’s Church, Barking, London, England, with a quotation from Psalm 107. Photo by Mike Quinn.  Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic. Image taken from the Wikimedia Commons.

Psalm 107 is a psalm of thanksgiving, but actually says more about depths of the human experience as a context where that divine presence is known.  This psalm declares confidence in a God who supplies what the people need, but every line stresses that this blessing comes to them when they are in a time of hardship.  It is a song sung through tears.  It speaks of the people being in trouble, wandering in a desert wasteland, not able to find their way, hungry and thirsty.  And by grace, God hears their cries, sees their need, and provides for them.

This psalm exposes the lie of thinking that people of faith don’t suffer, and that if they have faith, and obey, and follow the way, they will be protected, immune from trouble.  Thank God psalms like this are there in Scripture.  Because of writing like this when those troubles come – wherever they come from – and whatever sort of difficulty we find ourselves in – through our tears we can read these words and be reassured.  At a time when it counts maybe more than it ever did, they remind us that the gospel is about redemption and renewal, about reclaiming the things that are lost, about being helped to our feet again, about being led back home from exile, and about being welcomed at God’s table.

Thanks be to God.

Grace and peace to you,

Revs. Bob and Helen Smith

A version of this message first appeared in the Saturday, October 17, 2020, edition of Tidbits.