When I was a little girl, I was taught that God was everywhere. In every thing, and in every one. We still teach our children that. It is a lesson to look for God in all things, all of the time.
I also think this is a reminder that even as adults we need to look for God in the person, places, and things we believe God’s presence is lacking. We need to remember that God is in that one person who annoys the heck out of us, that person who doesn’t look like us, act like us, or won’t behave the way we want them to behave. We need to remember God is present at the welfare line, in the prison system, with the Republican and with the Democrat. God is present for the rich as well as the poor. God is present with the Muslim, Jew, Christian and the atheist. God is IN and SURROUNDING, and MOVING. God is CONSTANT.
In our book, Sully saw God as a light. When and how do you see God? When someone smiles at you, or does something kind for you? Do you see God in Oscar the Grouch?
Sisters and brothers, God is present with us today. Sometimes we may think God is far away. Trinity is going through some difficult changes: Pastor Jan’s retirement, where to put the administrators office, accessibility issues, differed maintenance. We can panic, throw out accusations at others, stomp our feet, point out another’s mistakes, or worst of all, stop putting money in to the offering plate. We do things like this to send a message. But just who are we sending that message to? When we dig in our heels, and cross our arms, does that action acknowledge the presence of God?
Our lesson today from Ephesians is a prayer for its readers. The readers were “a church”. The letter was written in the first century and it’s words to this day are still relevant. Verses 18 & 19 again: I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Next year, Trinity, we will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of our founding. I am sure there has been conflict, turmoil, and indecision many times over in that century and a half. In my 20 years here, we suffered through a fire and rebuilding. We made the decision to take down Trinity House and to sell the parsonage. We’ve been through 3 settled pastors, 2 interims, and we are about to welcome a third. We’ve sometimes done things the hard way, but the lessons learned from those mistakes are invaluable. And every time our church life got hard, God was present with us.
Sometimes we get bogged down in the details. Whose job is this? What committee is this? Should this be studied? Some of us are detailed people. Sometimes we take risks, and jump off the “leap of faith” cliff. Just do it, it will get done sooner. Some of us are risk-takers. And sometimes we just plain do nothing because we’re afraid or unsure. God is still present.
Whether individually, or as group, in our church family, or our personal families, God is present. God is present in the details. God is present in that leap. God is present when we are scared.
Brothers and Sisters, let us embrace the fact that God is present in this time of transition and turmoil. We will stand with our feet firmly planted and look to the future with confidence, knowing God is beside us.
Each one of us have different personalities and different ways of getting a job accomplished. Sometimes we may not like another persons way of doing business. But that’s not wrong, just different and it might make you uncomfortable. We all have what’s best for Trinity in our hearts. We need to forgive often, forget forever, and move on.
That “FULLNESS OF GOD” mentioned in the lesson from Ephesians? May that abundant presence of God burst out of each of us like an explosion. May it blow the roof off the building and flow into the air all over the community. May each of us before we go home today acknowledge the presence of God in each other.
by Kathryn R. Dierbeck - Guest Lay Leader