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June 18, 2020

“And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5

We held our first GLOW last night. What’s GLOW? I’m glad you asked? It’s “Grace Lutheran On Wednesdays,” a summertime opportunity to gather for fellowship and worship. Last summer, we would gather at Grace for ice cream and conversation, followed by a camp-style worship including FAITH5.

This year, of course, we had to gather via Zoom. It was a delightful opportunity catch up with people, sing songs, hear scripture, and discuss our high and lows and what God’s Word is speaking to us. Oh, and to eat ice cream.

Last night we read Romans 5:1-8 and talked about suffering.

This year is so different in so many ways. I thought about two things my kids aren’t able to do: go to camp, and go to the village pools. So, I talked about camp and swimming.

I first experienced Waypost Camp as a five-year-old with a broken arm. I could go swimming, but only after my mom tied a bread bag over my cast to keep it dry. This was less than optimal. I missed being able to do what the other kids were doing. And that’s how I got to know Brian. Well, I think that was his name. I don’t remember for sure. I do remember that he wore a San Diego Padres baseball cap. Brian was one of the camp counselors, and he sought me out with special kindness, joining me in what I couldn’t do.

I learned a lot about Jesus that week. I learned that God is not a God who waits for us to get over our suffering. God comes in Christ to suffer with us. Jesus’ suffering is not simply in solidarity, however; it is redemptive. It leads to a hope that does not disappoint.

Brian showed me what it was like to live like Christ. Find the ones who are left out, left behind, left languishing under life’s load (apologies for the alliteration). Go to them. Sit with them. And then work for them. God doesn’t create our suffering, but God sure can work with it. I assure you, there is no shortage of opportunity for you to live out your faith in this way.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God of hope, you come to this world to suffer with us. You come to this world to pull us out of suffering. Thank you for Christ, whose death and resurrection have set us free. Let us freely work to bring hope in the midst of suffering, and life out of death. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: GLOW.

From → COVID-19

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