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Daily Encouragement - July 16

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.  Ecclesiastes 3:1,4  NRSV

These are hard days.  Lately I have been asking myself why I am feeling so…unsettled (best word I can come up with for this feeling).  I am safe.  I have everything I need, and if there is something I desire beyond what I actually need, I can simply go online and it will soon appear on the front porch.  I am with my favorite grandchild (the only grandchild), with whom I can walk to Norwood Town Center for a cup of our favorite cherry vanilla ice cream (order called in and then handed to us as we wait outside the door).   Yet there is within me an uneasiness that I cannot explain.  A few days ago a friend confided that she just wanted to weep. I understand that feeling. These days I do not think that is an unusual feeling.  

And yet, there are a lot of us who try to “be strong,” and hold back the tears.  I was told as a child, “Don’t cry.”  Crying was seen as weak, and besides tears made others uncomfortable.  So it was that as I was growing up, most of my tears were shed either into my pillow in the late-night darkness, or in the shower where they could be neither seen nor heard.  Or into the comforting hugs of my grandmother, who seemed to understand that sometimes tears are just what we need.  Still, I am not one who cries at the drop of a hat, but I cry when I feel like it is truly called for.  Go ahead and, as Mama Tucker used to say, “Let it out.”

 And so I told my friend what I sincerely believe.  Go ahead and weep.  No explanation is necessary.  Tears are a gift from God to help heal the spirit. St. Athanasius was maybe the first Church Father to name tears as a gift of God way back in the fourth century.  

I was on the verge of a weepy Sunday afternoon.  The absence of the gathered community to worship and pray has lost its excitement, and even watching online seems like a weak substitute and my watching is always tempered by a worry about the pastors who are tasked with putting such worship together and determining how much longer it will be necessary.  Anyhow, I was in a rather self-pitying place when the beloved grandson invited me to go outside and blow bubbles.  And I did.  Pretty soon we were running (again, the image of me trying to run with a six-year-old is not pretty) and watch the rainbow orbs float above the giant Norway maple trees and “into outer space.”  The sun was bright and the sky was a gorgeous blue that was just between Duke blue and Carolina blue.  We spotted a hawk on the roof of the house next door.  Her fledglings were circling nearby, coming back for her reassurance.  Another neighbor’s dog came out to play.  We had supper outside in the backyard.  It turned out to be a lovely afternoon.

There is a season for everything Ecclesiastes tells us.  And sometimes there is a season for both weeping and laughing.  Sometimes it is good for the soul to weep, and sometimes it is good for the soul to look around and behold the beauty of the creation that God has given us.  Sometimes one feels better after a good cry and sometimes what is called for is a good, hearty belly laugh that starts way down in the tummy and bursts forth with joy.  

So when you feel like weeping, weep.  And then look around and count your blessings.  And remember, we are never, ever alone.  God will not leave us comfortless.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me use me.

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.   UMH 393

Dear God, look upon us in these trying days with mercy.  We trust in your grace and your abiding love to walk through such times with us.  When we are weary and it feels like these times will never end, remind us that there is a time for every purpose under heaven.  And help us to look to you for comfort and for peace in troubled times.  Amen.

Pastor Rachel Moser

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