PASTORS: What Does Crisis Mean?

County Pastors Contemplate:

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

Editor’s Note: The coronavirus has closed churches, but via the Internet and other means, pastors continue to preach. Over the next few weeks, we will share their words here.

Out Of Pain, Grief, Find Understanding

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a Transcendentalist Unitarian, wrote, “There is a crack in every thing God has made.”

In 1992, Leonard Cohen, singer, musician, and song writer, sang in his song “Anthem”, “There is a crack, a crack, in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Rev. Schwalenberg

It is also how our light shines out. Through our brokenness.

Things are going to be difficult for us for a while. There will be pain and struggle and grief.

And we will feel profoundly broken. But in our brokenness. In our pain. In our grief. In our struggle.

Let us remember.

We are rooted to the Earth.

Connected in ways we cannot even begin to know or understand.

We are both whole and holy, APART it may seem, but truly, I tell you, A PART of the greater whole.

Bound by spirit. Bound by Life. Bound by Love.

Together.

Broken and Whole.

Rev. CRAIG SCHWALENBERG
Universalist Unitarian Church
Oneonta

He Intervenes, For Our Ultimate Good

In times like this, we must always remember that God is not the author of evil. He does not desire to hurt or afflict his creation.

Father Boston

But, as he did in the life of David the King – the “man after God’s own heart” who committed adultery and contracted out a murder – he will use evil to bring about good.

As he did in the life of the man born blind, he will make our hurts and afflictions occasions for his greater glory.

God grabs hold of the circumstances we have made for ourselves – circumstances that threaten to drag us down to our destructions – and uses those things to redeem us, and to glorify his Name. Our sins do hinder us. They can never hinder him.

What’s God up to? What’s he doing? I cannot give you an answer that will bring clarity to the days ahead. I cannot sketch out for you God’s game plan for what he’s accomplishing in this moment. I can only promise you this: the God who came and walked among us as one of us remains with us in our hours of trial as much as in our moments of triumph. The God who came and walked among us as one of us shall never leave us, whatever the afflictions through which we must walk. The God who came and walked among us as one of us is with us still. He goes still to the sick and suffering.

What’s God doing? What’s he up to? The same thing he has always been doing. The same thing he has always been up to. He is intervening, here and now in the life of this world – in your life and in my life – for his greater glory and for our ultimate good. Hold fast to that assurance. Hold fast to that unshakable, unbreakable promise. Hold fast to one another, even from a distance, even while we are apart.

Rev. DANE BOSTON
Christ Episcopal Church
Cooperstown

Lost In Dark Wood, We Find A New Way

The best evidence I’ve seen that the Maker of heaven and earth is searching for us, seeking to create a new relationship, a new covenant for a new age, is by witnessing all the caring that’s going on, here in our community and all around the world.

Rev. Swords-Horrell

People are taking care of their neighbors; they are calling our oldsters on the phone, checking in, getting their groceries, walking their dogs. There are school buses in front of our schools where families can get food.

We live in a community with a lot of heart, and this crisis is strengthening the ties that bind and creating entirely new ones, ties across the airwaves, across cyberspace, binding us together in love. That’s Holy Spirit work.

So as we continue our journey through this dark wood, we will continue to ask, who’s lost? Who’s lost in our community, our world, and how can we reach out to help be finders and restorers of life and health, from a safe distance?

When God called out that night so long ago, “Samuel, Samuel”, the lamp of God had not yet gone out. It was the darkest hour of the night. Some of us remember how Mama Cass sang, “And the darkest hour, is just before dawn.”
As Marcia McFee wrote for our liturgy today, “The path of life is rarely clear or straight-forward. We find ourselves lost in a Dark Wood, unclear which direction to go, perhaps having strayed from the path we thought we were on. It is at these times that the gift of getting lost is that we begin to pay more attention than we usually do.”

We’re standing together in a dark wood, not sure which way to go. We’re being invited to pay attention, to get quiet and open wide our senses. We’re listening for our name, for the call of God on our life. As individuals. As families. As a church. As a nation. As a planet. We’re getting quiet and we’re listening. We’re ready to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.”

Rev. MARTI SWORDS-HORRELL
First United Methodist Church
Oneonta


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