I have been texting the last few minutes with my pastor friend Karen Montgomery about our county’s covid situation. Pastor Karen is the pastor of North Lewisburg (Ohio) UMC. She asked me if there is anything her church can do materially for our church and/or the Short Gap Volunteer Fire Company. Pastor Karen has brought her church to Short Gap on mission trips for the last three years. They have slept in our church the last three years. They have worked in the community. They have worked a lot at the Short Gap VFC. This past summer they were limited because of the virus, so they primarily worked at the fire station. They washed the fire trucks and ambulances and cleaned a lot around the station. Last year they painted the little pantry that sits in front of the fire hall. I told her we were not lacking anything we needed at the church or fire department.
I have had friends locally who work in the health care system and on ambulances who have confided in me that they have cried on the way home from work. Some have told me they sat down and cried for a solid hour or more. I do not mind telling you I have been crying for the first time this morning since texting with Pastor Karen. What started the tears for me this morning is when I sent this text to Pastor Karen:
Thanks for remembering us in your prayers. I know your church has a heart for our community and our fire department. And I have tears in my eyes even as I type this thinking about your church’s love for our community.
I was actually doing voice to text and I cannot believe how well Siri did with my sobs. That text almost seems like something the Apostle Paul would have written. In our society where the definition of love has been blurred, twisted, and counterfeited, I am reminded this morning of true love. I am thankful for a love that weeps with those who weep. I hope perhaps you have tears in your eyes as you read this. Not tears of hopelessness, but on the contrary – – tears of hope. While I am thankful for the love of friends like those at North Lewisburg UMC, and while I am thankful for the sacrifice of my friends and all the rest who serve us on the front lines of this pandemic, my hope is not in them. My hope is in the Lord, and that brings me to tears of joy.
I entrust to you this morning these snippets from Psalm 20:
May Yahweh answer you in a day of trouble;
may the name of Jacob’s God protect you.
May He send you help from the sanctuary
and sustain you from Zion.
May He give you what your heart desires
and fulfill your whole purpose.
Let us shout for joy at your victory
and lift the banner in the name of our God.
May Yahweh fulfill all your requests.
Now I know that the Lord gives victory to His anointed;
He will answer them from His holy heaven
with mighty victories from His right hand.
Some take pride in chariots, and others in horses,
but we take pride in the name of Yahweh our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand firm…
May He answer us on the day that we call.