Despite all the darkness - Reflections 7-11-18

 Ephesians 1:3-14

 Tuesday was very good day of news around the world. 
Rescuers got all the people out of the cave in Thailand. A 5-month-old infant who had been abandoned and buried under piles of sticks for at least 9 hours in Montana wilderness was found alive. And a plane crashed on a mountain in Alaska. Searchers found that no one was killed and none of the injuries were serious.  Even if only for a moment, these events provided a deep breath of hope.

After my first 7 years in ministry, the congregation for which I worked gave me a “sabbatical” which you could also call a study leave - but you say tomato and I say tomato. I focused on events and places that offered different insights on Adult Education in the congregation. The first event was a continuing ed event that offered a children’s program along with the adult program. I figured spending a week away with mom might make up for the coming weeks away from mom.

The adult study that first week focused on the book of Ephesians. I don’t remember details (it was over 25 years ago…) but I remember that the first chapter of Ephesians lifted my spirit and renewed by soul. It was only the first week and already the sabbatical brought renewal and a deep breath of hope!

Even though it is a mouthful to read aloud, the verses from Ephesians this week remind us that through Christ, God is gracious beyond anything we can imagine.  Grace is heaped, smothered, poured upon us… Paul calls it “lavished” by grace that brings wholeness and forgiveness. We are loved – no matter what.

And that grace extends out to include the world; all things, in heaven and earth, will be gathered into God’s luscious grace. We cannot give up hope for anyone or any place. Stop and think about that. We cannot give up hope for anyone or any place.

The news from Tuesday points toward this tenacious hope. The dive teams did not give up on the soccer boys even though it looked hopeless. Countless people walked 6 hours through Montana wilderness in chilly weather seeking a baby “buried somewhere on the mountain”; not a very hopeful description of where to look for him.  The search team in Alaska had quarter mile visibility as they looked for the site of the plane crash in mountainous terrain.

We are people who have “obtained an inheritance” and were “sealed by the Holy Spirit”.  We bring the hope and blessing that we have received to a very weary and broken world. God’s grace precedes, surrounds and sustains us so we can bring a deep breath of hope to all.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness – Desmond Tutu

What does “bringing hope” look like in your life? 

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Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245