Happy Sunday, Friends! Here is this morning worship service. I started it just at the scripture reading before the message. If you’d rather just read it, I’ll share the transcript below.
Bless to Me
God Is In: Celebrating Presence
We started this journey of blessings 7 weeks ago. I hope it has been a blessing to you. It has to me. I hope it has helped you remember that yes, God is in. God is present right here, right now. Even in these troubling times.
Would you please pray with me?
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts and minds be acceptable to you, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
God is in. I like that. Reminds me of Lucy from the Charlie Brown gang and her booth that always read, “The Doctor Is In.”
This series has reminded us of this. God is in. In week one we were reminded that God is with us throughout the day. In every little thing, even housework. In week two, we learned to slow down and really notice the holy moments in each day, not just the big stuff and we started our bless to me prayers. In week Three, we journeyed through the seasons – of nature, the church, and life and found that there too, blessings abound. Next we learned to celebrate more fully the passages of life, each one a special blessing. This led us to heart prayers. Praying for our community and the world which then led us to struggling times and looking for the blessings in them.
All of this reminds us that yes, God is in. God is present and in everything, in every moment, in the good AND the not so good. God goes with us no matter where we go. He is always present.
As I am saying this though, I’m reminded of hearing people say things like, “We should have never taken God out of schools. Bring God back to schools!” This comment, though, has always bothered me. It makes me sad that some just can’t see or fathom how great, how big God really is, how far and wide His presence flows.
God is IN! God is in the schools! God can’t removed. No matter how hard we try, God can not be taken out of anywhere. God is in… God’s presence is always there, no invitation needed. God’s love is so great, so big, so ever present, how could we ever believe it was removed? Are we that powerful? Do we believe that we humans are powerful enough to remove God?
I don’t think so. God is in, God is here. If you worry about his presence in our schools, teach your children how to pray and they will know God is always with them, waiting to hear from them. There is no where that we can escape God’s presence.
God is in, God is always with us, God’s presence surrounds us all the time. Like our scripture says, God is in our waking and sleep. God is in it all – brushing our teeth, washing the dishes, vacuuming.
God is in our Holy Moments – our worship, communion, baptism, but also the holy moments of the sunrise or sunset, in the bird song, in the quiet moments of peace just before the house wakes up and also in the chaos of the morning.
God is in the seasons of life – our birth to our golden years, spring through winter, Advent through Lent.
God is in the special moments – our learning to walk, starting Kindergarten, our first love, our graduation, our first job, our marriage, our first apartment, our empty nest…
God is in our prayers for our friends, our family, our churches, our community, our nation and our world. God is calling us into those prayers for one another. God invites us to share all these blessings, to share God’s presence with this world.
God is in the pain, in the suffering, in the struggling times. God’s presence is always with us. God is in this pandemic, in the protests and even in the riots. God is in the civil unrest, the harsh political atmosphere. God isn’t the cause of any of these but God is present in them. God is in.
God is in us, each and every one of us. God knew us before we were born. God knows our every thought and God stays with us anyway.
God is in our enemy, God is in those who disagree with us, God is in those who oppose us. God is in.
I recently read some comments on Facebook. They were hateful. They were awful. They included name calling, threats and more, and they angered me, but they also made me incredibly sad. Sad because this person making them considers themself to be a Christian. I believe they truly believe that they were defending the faith, defending the right. The person they were being so ugly to is also a Christian, living their life as best they can, being the best person they can. I’m not saying that they are perfect or that they get it right every time. None of us do but we can only do our best. God was present this conversation. Go is in.
I’ve heard Christians on all sides of politics, all sides of social justice issues, all sides saying, “How can you as a Christian…” believe, do, think… just fill in the blank… It’s sad to me. I’ve even said it myself, I won’t lie. We too often use our faith as a shield and also as my daughter Susan said this week, as a blindfold. We use it to defend ourselves, to make ourselves feel good but we also use it cover our eyes so that we don’t have to see what’s going on. I don’t believe God ever meant for our faith to be used in such a manner… in a way that hurts, a way the oppresses, a way that blinds us to our neighbor’s plight.
Thank goodness, God is in. God is in it all, God’s presence fills every nook and cranny of this life and this world. God is in. God is with us, in the good and the not so good. God is in, in the laughter and the tears. God is in, in the fires, the storms and pandemics. God is in. Open your eyes, your ears and be filled. Open your mouth and share – share the blessings, share the love, share the good news! God is in. Amen.