Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near; let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:6-7 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/isa.55.6-7.NRSV
We rejoice that today the sun is shining and after the meeting we can go for a walk and look forward to a light lunch and a relaxing afternoon. Tomorrow? This afternoon? In the coming hour? All could change but we have gathered to deepen our walk with God as best we can.
We have laid a foundation that knows the abundant grace of God if not ever so slightly and our hope is this will carry us through the uncertainties and fragility of the coming times.
…and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:2-4 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/1co.10.2-4.NRSV
And we can hope for others that God knows them, is for them and walks with them.
We so easily want to limit God but it is God who is the source of abundance. He is not bound by the niceties of our understanding and the certainties of our convictions.
No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/1co.10.13.NRSV
The way he deals with each of us and stands with each one is as an individual. For all our right thinking God is sovereign, not our judgement. We need to be true to Christ and walk gently and wisely only loving. We should be liberating one another to drink from that rock who is Christ and shines in everyone. We bring a curse on ourselves when we strike to hard; we diminish our experience of God. Just love people and allow God to work.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8-9 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/isa.55.8-9.NRSV
This is what the prophet hears God saying to him. And Jesus, knowing the hardship his message would bring and the times that were coming, warns his disciples not to be complaicant again and again.
There are terrible things happening in the world. They may befall us, we may be in the midst of them. God may seem far off, but we can draw on the depths of God and now, if it is the time of favour, we can go deeper in preparation.
The Gospel for today,
Luke 13:1-9 NRSV https://bible.com/bible/2016/luk.13.1-9.NRSV
has Jesus giving a stern warning to his followers to wake up and take stock of the times. Wherever we may feel we are God is offering us a fresh start.