In this month’s, “Home Words Bound,” Rev. Benton Heisler reflects on the grace and the power of God.
Director of Connectional Ministries
Pray. Follow Instructions. Expect Delays. The new may not look like the old. Pray.
“Though there is great change and disruption, uncertainty and anxiety … God is our refuge and strength, very present help. Be still. God is near.” (My own paraphrase of Psalm 46.)
Yes, you did read these very lines in my September blog and how true they have become.
In the next four weeks, the (delayed) moving of office staff and equipment will take place as there are transitions from the Flint and Grand Rapids offices to the new offices at Clark Corners in Lansing, two miles north of the Area Ministry Center. The current Grand Rapids District Office and the West Michigan Conference Staff will move to First Place, the office facility shared with First United Methodist Church in downtown Grand Rapids. This week the United Methodist Foundation moves to their new offices on the Grand Rapids Beltline just north of I96.
We have all been in constant prayer as logistics get complicated, the exact office locations and job responsibilities are flexible and timing uncertain. Will the office construction be completed? Will the technology function once we are all relocated? The questions go on.
All this work and attention to details, pales when compared to tragic events that have taken place in the nation and the somber international challenges facing our leaders. “God is our refuge and strength…a very present help in times of trouble.”
Oh, how I pray for peace; a peace that helps warring factions cease their violence; a peace that keeps neighbor from tackling neighbor and breaking ribs over an argument about lawn care; a peace that is not negotiated on Twitter, minimized on SNL, or silently orchestrated during the national anthem; a peace that preserves justice and the rule of law while at the same time corrects the injustice and inequity that leaves so many with a feeling that crime and angry demonstration is their only option for personal expression; a peace that brings the most powerful legislative leaders in the world together to find a common solution for reasonable gun ownership and control, safe borders and a welcoming of the lost, least and alone; a peace that protects women from the savagery of lust and power and at the same time convinces an entertainment and publishing industry that “life will imitate art”, when the art and publications are void of conscience and morals and have an insane emphasis upon wealth at the expense of others; and a peace that helps those whose minds and hearts are only filled with a hatred that causes death and destruction, to find a peace that passes all understanding.
“Be still and know that I am God!”, writes the Psalmist.
I find that Fall is a time when I am deeply aware of the grace and power of God. The rhythm of the seasons’ change and what each transition brings in terms of rest, renewal, restoration and revitalization is a confirmation for me of the incredible synchronization God has placed in God’s Dance of Creation. My own rhythm of setting some garden tools aside for a season, placing fertilizer and nutrients on the lawn and in the flower beds, pruning branches, prepping the snow blower, and eating apple pie all have their place in this rhythm.
The hymn writer, Natalie Sleeth, captured this balance, ”In the bulb there is a flower, in the seed an apple tree; in cocoons a hidden promise; butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”
I join you in prayer for our Church, its leaders, our Nation, its leaders, our children, their future and for “…a spring that waits to be, unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.”