Trust in the Lord . . .
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge God, and the Lord will make straight your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body.” (Proverbs 3:5-8)
After all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, some folks welcome the quiet of January, while others long for the excitement of the season just past. In the Church’s liturgical calendar, all of the joys of the Advent and Christmas seasons come to a conclusion with Epiphany, which is on January 6. Then we move into what is known as Ordinary Time, where nothing special seems to happen until we reach Transfiguration Sunday, and then the beginning of Lent on the following Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday. Otherwise, liturgically speaking, there is nothing special happening in January.
Not so for us as a country, nor as a congregation. On January 20, we as a nation will experience again the peaceful transition of power as a new president is sworn into office. Closer to home, we as a congregation will move into a transition in January as we bid Rachael Huntley and her family goodbye, and then begin the search for our third pastor.
Friends, transitions can be scary. In the midst of the change, we may question God’s plan and wish we could gain wisdom to understand. The Book of Proverbs tells us that to find wisdom, we must first fear (to stand in awe of) the Lord. The writer of Proverbs is speaking to his son and telling him to trust in God. The passage does not tell us how God will direct our paths, but it says to trust in God. Sometimes we run and look for answers to our questions in the Bible that are not there. The Bible was not written to answer all of our questions. In times of transition, the Bible does not tell us exactly what we are to do next. Instead, the Bible tells us about our Savior. The Bible tells us of God’s continuing love and grace to all people. The Bible invites us to join God and enter into God’s story of redemption.
As we move into these transitions, may we trust in the Lord with all our heart, not relying simply upon our own insight. May we be in prayer for our country and our congregation, asking that God’s Spirit might be moving in us, and through us, even as we seek to be a part of God’s story of redemption.
I close with a prayer that is in our Book of Common Prayer. It was written by the 28th President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, who was a Presbyterian.
Almighty God, ruler of all the peoples of the earth, forgive, we pray, our shortcomings as a nation; purify our hearts to see and love truth; give wisdom to our counselors and steadfastness to our people; and bring us at last to the fair city of peace, whose foundations are mercy, justice, and goodwill, and whose builder and maker you are; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.