July 24 Devotions

     What a week.  In Portland the mayor meets with protestors and ended up being tear-gassed.  In Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and elsewhere new Covid-19 records were set in terms of # of cases, # of deaths, # of hospitalizations.  Closer to home, Clay County, MN has the distinction of being the county with the first infant to die of Covid-19 in the state.  For those interested in the math 1- 986 infants were diagnosed with Covid-19 in MN.  So we have a Covid infant death ratio of 1 in 1,000 ratio–.1% of cases.  Better than 1-3 out of 100 with adults, but still not a comforting statistic for parents or grandparents.

     It would be nice if “What a Week” didn’t seem to be every week lately.  My personal challenge of the week was much smaller, but time consuming.  This week Sharon will be away on Sunday, so worship won’t exactly be live-streamed.  Instead, several live pieces of worship are now stitched together and set to “premiere” on the Church’s Facebook page.  It will look and act like Facebook Live.  We’ll be able to greet one another and make comments along the way.  While setting up a premiere for the first time beats getting tear-gassed in Portland, it did become a very long day of trial and error.  And, in the end, worship will Premiere on Sunday morning at 10 AM and I will watch it with the other watchers.

     However, that thirty-five-minute worship service won’t bring a Clay County infant back for the parents and family.  It won’t solve the racial problems in our country.  It won’t end “mask wars.”

     It will call us to hope, nonetheless, by focusing on a powerful parable Jesus shares.  Jesus says “the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and planted in the field.  It is the smallest of all seeds.  But, when it is grown, it … becomes a tree so that the birds in the sky come and nest in its branches” (Matthew 13:31-33).  Worship sometimes seems like a small thing in a deeply hurting world.  Like a small mustard seed, worship may also become a marvelous, sheltering home for our spiritual selves.  Worship may be that place where we find renewed strength to be part of fulfilling our Lord’s prayer, ”Thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.”

     I hope worship is that for us this Sunday.  (Frankly, part of me just hopes it arrives on time from Facebook’s mysterious Premiere cloud).  I also hope we find ways to be in worship each day of the week.  After the sun sets, standing outside for a few moments under the starry skies, sharing our main hope or our main worry, asking God to hold it for the night is an act of worship.  Pausing to feel a mid-day breeze that has just crossed a lake and hearing water stir, as it has done for centuries before us can be a moment of worship.  It reminds us God is larger than our anxieties.  Any moment, we can pause to be aware and worshipful.  It may not change the world—but it may change us in the best of ways.

May you have a worshipful week.

Pastor Roger