So, there I stood as the water flowed through the church. Others were trying to stop the water, calling for help, checking our insurance and finally calling in the restoration crew, but there was nothing I could do. I just stood there. It was so frustrating.
It has been that type of week. Sleeping in the cold and the dark. Watching as around me people were suffering, but there was nothing that I could do. Then, a place I thought was safe with heat and lights became a disaster area. No Ash Wednesday Service, no Sunday in house services until ???? And then Wednesday night, having finally had power and light return at my apartment, watch as my water went from a trickle to nothing. (Did another pipe burst somewhere?)
I had made plans. How could I unite a congregation separated on so many ways? In the past, I had gotten olive wood crosses from Bethlehem. Just the right size for pocket or purse. One for each member of the church that we could all share as we sought for Jesus to be with us during Lent. We did not have to be in the same place at the same time, with the crosses we would all know that we would be united in Jesus. We would send the first ones out with the Mission Trip Spaghetti meals. I had enough for those who would come to the Ash Wednesday service and attending on Sunday morning. We invited the Spanish speaking congregation to join us for the Ash Wednesday service and there would be enough for them. And I had enough to send with the families of our preschoolers who also would get their own age-appropriate Bible for Lent.
Then the storm hit. The Mission Trip supper postponed until March 7th. Preschool cancelled and further delayed. Worship on-line, but no way to share the crosses. I stand here helpless, but not hopeless.
If we had received the ashes this week, we would have heard the blessing, “Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” It is a blessing. It reminds us that our plans and strength will fail, but we also know that we are not just dust. God breathed into the dust and created us. God, by the power of the resurrection of Jesus, will raise us up to new life out of the dust of death. Though our plans and strength are dust, we have the Holy Spirit that insures the victory of the Christian life in our dusty lives. I may stand helpless as the storms rage around me and my plans fail, but I stand filled with hope because I do not stand alone. I stand with my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
You also do not stand alone. Cross or no cross, Christ stands with you. In one place or many, His Holy Spirit unites us as one. No matter the fate of our plans, God’s Holy plan will not fail, but be fulfilled in all who trust in Him.
P.S. The crosses still will be shared. My water was restored on Thursday morning.