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Message from Linda
Pastor Linda's Message

  Pastor Linda

Message from Linda

God’s Presence in the Storm

Have you ever looked at what is happening in our world today and wondered, where is God? We feel that yearning for God to intervene. We wish that God would act in a highly visible way that communicated, “I love you and I am with you.” Henri Nouwen writes that in the center of God’s absence, we can find the first signs of God’s presence. “It is in the middle of our longings that we discover the footprints of the One who created them. It is in the faithful waiting for God, that we know how much God has filled our lives already.” The sixth chapter of Mark tells of a stormy night when the men who followed Jesus were scared. Those experienced fishermen worked with their oars in the darkness, trying to get control of their boat, but all was in vain as giant waves tossed them to and fro; and then Jesus came to his friends, walking through the storm, in his presence and at his word, the waters stilled.

It’s easy to feel tossed about in these turbulent times. We hunger for peace and security in the midst of personal, economic, societal and pandemic storms. We grieve the loss of life and the rising death tolls from the Coronavirus. We feel the pain of those who protest injustice. We struggle with our own sense of helplessness to effect positive change in the complexities of our world today. Even now, centuries after Jesus’ physical presence calmed the waters for his disciples, his spiritual presence comes to us. Jesus calls us to be still and to rest in him.

Let’s face it, stillness isn’t easy for most of us. But we can be still and know that God is. It can be as simple as taking a few moments to breathe deeply, centering ourselves in God’s presence. We need quiet so that we can hear the voice of God. In the midst of the storm, when we tap into the center, the inner light, within each of us -- we can find the calm that inspires and gives us the strength to respond to the challenges of our time. God’s light is our guidepost and we will find our way.

Through the Spirit whom Jesus has sent to us, you and I, are the very body of Christ. Whether we gather for worship online or in the sanctuary, every time two or three of us gather anywhere, we are invited to experience God’s love, not as a passive observer, but as an active participant. Right this minute, we are invited to experience the incarnation we celebrate in Christmas by living and loving as Christ’s body in the world. That is the hope that sustains us, the peace that keeps us centered amid life’s challenges and the joy that makes eternal and abundant life present in the here and now. This can be difficult for us to grasp at times. How can we look at the world as it is and still say that Jesus has conquered sin and death? How can we look at the world in its darkness and say the Light of the World has come? But good news, the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light. Those who lived in deep darkness, on them a light has shined. The world doesn’t have to be rid of sinners before we are freed from sin. The world doesn’t have to be rid of darkness before we can walk in the light.

Remember the words to the song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” The journey for peace is a spiritual journey. The spiritual journey is a constant process of falling down and getting back up again in the context of a grace that constantly embraces us. Louise Diamond writes that inner peace is about a sense of being part of something larger. Peace with others is about our connecting with the open heart, through which we remember our shared humanness.

Pastor Jim, Nurse Mary, and I are deeply grateful for the many ways you are reaching out to each other and to the community during these challenging times. Your incredible response to the deep need of the Navajo Nation was deeply inspiring. We appreciate all the ways in which our deacons are reaching out to the congregation. The volunteers who deliver Meals of Joy, our Stephen Ministers and prayer chain continue to be beacons of hope and light to our congregation and community. Our quilters, Angel Bees, prayer shawl ministry members, Presbyterian Women and Men of the Church continue to make a tangible difference in the world. The list goes on and on. I continue to hear of the inspiring ways in which you are reaching out to each other as we adapt to the present realities. Know that God is greater than our fears and doubts, greater than our highs and lows. May you receive grace upon grace in the days ahead. Let God breathe in and through you to bring peace to your heart and the world.

Blessings and peace,
Linda Bailey, Associate Pastor

Last Published: July 2, 2020 10:44 AM
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