In the wilderness
Updated: Mar 24, 2020
Yet I have been the LORD your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior. It was I who fed you in the wilderness….
We are truly in the wilderness, aren’t we? In the span of our lives, none of us has been through a time like this. It is one thing to experience a crisis; it is quite another to be strongly advised not to gather together during that crisis. Because we know that, as Christians, gathering is what we do best. As the body of Christ in the world our mission as the church is first to gather in worship, and then be sent out in service. In worship our souls are fed, our spirit is strengthened, our fears are calmed, by the enduring presence of Jesus Christ in our midst.
I want you to know that, as your pastor, I am here for you. I love you and I am praying for each of you. I desperately want us to stay connected through whatever means are available. This daily blog is one of the ways we will gather in spirit until we can all be together again. Never has the journey into the wilderness of Lent been more real for us as a community of faith. So let this period of “distancing” actually be one in which we may be drawn more closely together in God, who always feeds us and gives us what we need even in parched places.
Let us begin our journey through the wilderness of this time with the opening hymn from yesterday’s worship service, "Give Me Jesus." You all know that enduring line Matthew’s gospel: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20): Well, what if we cannot gather? Where is Jesus in that event?
Sung originally by American slaves, “Give Me Jesus” lifts in each heart the urgent plea for Christ to come and be with us through the cycle of life – in the morning, at midnight, at the break of day, and at our death, and to dispense with our worldly anxieties as we seek his presence. In the wilderness there are no helpful road signs. There aren’t even roads. There is only Jesus. And there is song.
As you follow the music below, you may choose to listen to a powerful interpretation by a countertenor at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ithaca, NY. It is sung during the offering as the pastor prepares communion in the background: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXpPl4CmazI
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
Yours in Christ, Pastor Raabe