Devotions from Tri-City ELCA Pastors – Pastor Barbara from Holy Redeemer, June 29, 2020

Devotion for Monday, June 29, 2020, by Pastor Barbara Caine

“What possible spiritual significance could a trip to the grocery store have?  How could something as common as a toothache be a door to greater life?  No one longs for what he or she already has, and yet the accumulated insight of those wise about the spiritual life suggests that the reason so many of us cannot see the red X that marks the spot is because we are standing on it.”

Barbara Brown Taylor in “An Altar in the World”

Dear Church,

I am late in writing my devotion today because I got a chance to ride along with my friend to the post office.  Now, in years past, I would have thought nothing about saying no to this trip as I had so many things to do and so many places to go.  Now, it is one of the most exciting things I get to do and I didn’t want to miss it!  Can you relate?

This shelter-in-place has brought me to a significant shift in my thinking.  I understand so much better what Brown is talking about.  Now, I don’t like being restricted any better than anyone else, and, at the same time, I am incredibly lucky that I 1) don’t live alone; and 2) have good work to do.  But that’s not what Brown is pointing out.  She’s saying that whatever is going on, holding us back, seems mundane, or is painful in our lives, or even is going incredibly well, can be the throughway to encountering God in our world. 

And every time – every single time – I encounter God in our world, I find that I’m standing right in the middle of the X that marks the spot.  I can endure, I can love better, I can face whatever it is, I can ask for help, I can cry my heart out, I can see the good, the bad, and everything in between with the eyes of our God who loves this world, and loves you and me.  When I encounter God in our world I find the courage to do what’s right, to consider others with compassion, and to find consolation in knowing that I am not alone.

I hope as we continue to shelter-in-place, or go to essential work, that all of us can – right where we are – encounter our loving God whose love and grace always hits the spot – that spot right under our feet, right where we are.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Barbara

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