For God so loved the world he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life (John 3:16).
We are living in very unsettling times these days. Along with the weather, a friend said yesterday: “It feels like we are living days that are very grey …” Not only the overcast skies, but the many unknowns that accompany the COVID-19 frighten us.
Who are the carriers? How bad is the virus, really? What are the appropriate measures to hold it in check? How long will all this last? How will the economy be effected? What will happen to all the people needing to stay home and who might lose their jobs?
These are all very grey areas we have no answers for right now. The inherent nature of not knowing creates additional stress and adds to our fear. Thankfully, we are not the only ones who have had to deal with such vast uncertainty.
George MacLeod, Scottish soldier and clergyman, wise Christian, teacher, preacher, poet, and founder of the Iona Community in Scotland, once offered these words of wisdom in his profound poem, Glory in the Grey:
Almighty God …
Sun behind all suns,
Soul behind all souls …
Show to us in everything we touch
And in everyone we meet
The continued assurance of thy presence round us,
Lest ever we should thee absent.
In all created thing thou art there.
In every friend we have
The sunshine of thy presence is shown forth.
In every enemy that seems to cross our path,
Thou art there within the cloud to challenge us to love.
Show to us the glory in the grey.
Awake for us thy presence in the very storm
Till all our joys are seen as thee
And all our trivial tasks emerge as priestly sacraments
In the universal temple of thy love.
Today, and the rest of this week, may you find “glory in the grey.” Let us together see past this potentially debilitating time of troubling uncertainty, indecision and insecurity. Find God’s presence in the midst of these storms; feel that holy sense of hope and purpose and ultimately, let us
…emerge as priestly sacraments, In the universal temple of thy love.
If we listen carefully, we can almost hear the echo of John 3:16 as a sympathetic vibration to the his poem. As a pastor of people who had long struggled with incredible hardships, George MacLeod knew well the abiding comfort that arises from knowing the depth and breadth of John 3:16. “For God so loved” and stillso loves the world …” Yes, we have times where it feels like everything is breaking loose. Such has always been the case. Yet, spiritual ancestors like him provide us with wise perspectives as resilient survivors, men and women who know how to trust in the providential care of God. So we can take heart, and feel increasingly surrounded by the universal temple of God’s love.
Now, along with our larger perspective, let’s also take one day at time with small steps of goodness and hope: As long as we are feeling healthy and can keep socially distanced from others in the appropriate way, try to remain active and engaged. This evening, exercise before or after a light and healthy dinner; allow your beating heart, invigorated muscles, and God’s broader wisdom to surprise you with new insight and better perspective for tomorrow.
And don’t forget to eat and drink wisely: blueberries, rasberries, apples, spinach, carrots … any fresh fruit or vegetable helps your body help itself in almost magical ways. Green tea is not a bad choice either … But most of all, remember: you are loved; you are missed; and we are all in this together. “For God so loved the world …”
Claim this truth today!