Each week Pastor Sarah offers a devotional reflection to connect with the South Shore UMC Family. Use this entry as a way to prepare your heart and mind for worship. See you Sunday!
This week the South Shore Community continues our summer series entitled This We Believe. During this series we will study core concepts of United Methodist Belief. This knowledge will enrich our faith and draw us towards greater lived expressions of Christ-likeness in our daily lives. I hope you will join us safely in-person or online via our broadcast platform for this time of study!
Sunday's Scripture ~ Romans 5:1-11.
Devotional Scripture ~ Psalm 29.
Last October Andrew and I had the privilege to travel to Idaho for the wedding of our dear friends, Lance and Morgan. This was our first trip to Idaho and to 'big sky country.'
And I will tell you - I am hooked!
Living in Florida for all but 35 months of my life means I am fascinated by the mountains. Their beauty. Their majesty! And especially my going to visit their snow - not their snow coming to visit me.
I have also lived all but 9 months of my life in the suburbs, which means I have always had an abundance of light (and light pollution) around me. While light is indeed a comfort in the darkness, it is a distraction to seeing stars.
This was not a distraction we faced in Idaho.
The sky stretched for miles. The stars sparkled like diamonds. Together they kissed the mountain peaks so delicately. There was a known-ness in the night - like a velvet hug from God - inviting me to breathe deep and rest completely because God was holding me - and the whole world - in God's hands.
Before Lance and Morgan invited us to their wedding, I wondered if we would ever travel to Idaho. Now I am wondering when we will travel there again!
Psalm 29 is a song of worship to the Lord. Attributed to David, the psalm praises God in the act of creation and in the act of renewal of creation. God is Lord over all. God created, God renews, and God saves.
At times we can become so familiar with God's creation that we no longer 'see it.' That we no longer marvel in it. That we no longer recognize it as a witness to God's presence and provision among us. It is in these moments that God calls us away from the distractions that we would seek God and remember.
Remember that the Lord of our life and new life is the same Lord
that set the world into motion is the same Lord
that defeated the gave is the same Lord
that calls us through grace to seek him in all times and in all places and among all peoples.
By remembering - and inviting this remembering of God's presence and provision to shape our everyday living - friends, we are re-membered. We are re-membered to our true selves as created in the image of God and we are re-membered to one another as Christ's whole, complete, and beautiful Body. This is what God intends for us. This is what awaits us when we turn away from distractions and ascribe to God all majesty.
Reflection: After reading Psalm 29, list the characteristics or names of God that mean the most to you. Add additional names or characteristics of God that speak to you from other Scriptures and/or life experiences. Give thanks to God through prayer.
Prayer: "Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love; hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above. Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away. Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day! All thy works with joy surround thee, earth and heaven reflect thy rays, stars and angels sing around thee, center of unbroken praise. Field and forest, vale and mountain, flowery meadow, flashing sea, chanting bird and flowing fountain, call us to rejoice in thee."* Amen.
*”Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” The United Methodist Hymnal 89.
**Devotional Resource: The Weekly Prayer Project by Scarlet Hiltibidal