It’s been said before, but it’s worth saying again, that in times of trouble God is near; we can call on God for help. Over and over in the book of the Psalms, the psalm writer prays for God’s help. One example prays: “God, you’re my last chance of the day. Put me on your salvation agenda; take notes on the trouble I’m in.” (Psalm 88, The Message). God’s promise includes his comfort when we’re hurt, his healing love when we’re sick. Another psalm tells us: “He forgives all our sins; he heals all our diseases.” (Psalm 103). All human beings who trust God are apt to call on God when they need help, need comfort, need a friend.
But God has promised to be near us in the good days, too, in the beautiful days like today. God has promised to celebrate with us, to join us in enjoying beauty, to enjoy our company when we are filled with joy. This is God who created the beauty we see around us, the sunshine and the softness of rain, the clouds as well as the cloudless skies, the deep blue of a lake, the restless waves of the ocean. Listen to this song: “God how great you are, dressed up in sunshine. You built your palace on the ocean deeps, made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings. You commandeered winds as messengers; appointed fire and flame as ambassadors. You set earth on a firm foundation so that nothing can shake it, ever. You blanketed earth with ocean, covered the mountains with deep waters.” (Psalm 104, The Message).
In the beautiful days God invites us to move closer to him. The Apostle Paul invites us to “give thanks in all things” as we move through our lives. To remember when there is good news; to remember when we are with people we love; to remember when we’ve seen something wonderful, or heard beautiful music, or had our eyes awed by sunsets and sunrises, birds and animals—to remember to say “Thank you” to the giver of such gifts. Beautiful days happen whether we notice them or not, but they seem to have a deeper beauty when we notice, when we remember that they are gifts, and to say thank you. Flowers grow whether or not we notice them; butterflies come by whether we see them or don’t.
Gorgeous days raise our hearts and spirits with sunshine and grace, but it is an added joy to praise the one who created them when we notice them. God has told us that he wants to be near us in joy and in trouble, in hope and in care, in health and in hurt. He says he will listen when we come to him with requests; he says he is joyful when we share our happiness with him. What he asks from us is to remember him no matter what is happening in our lives. The monks of the Weston Abbey have a song with the words: “All I ask of you is forever to remember me, loving you.” Today was a thanksgiving day. Other days are “help me please” days.
But whatever day you are experiencing, I invite you to attend a place of worship, and share prayer and song and reflection on who God is with others who want to join you in prayer and song and reflection on God. And to remember together that all of creation is loved with what God calls his “steadfast love,” his hesed. I pray you have been blessed recently with a perfect Vermont day.
Rev. Dr. Marcia Dorey is pastor of Halifax Union Society.