From Pastor Jeanette
I’ve been shredding. I do not like clutter and sometimes feel as if I am drowning in paper. So every now and then, I shred. While going through mounds of paper, I came across a seminary assignment for a church leadership class that quoted Emily Dickinson. I love literature, but have never grasped the joy of poetry. So I read the biography, White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.
Dickinson lived in a time when “…God was hard to find.” That sparked my curiosity as we often feel that God is hard to find. I researched her and realized that her writings revealed deep theological and Christological insight. Her biographer shared:
“Though church doctrine might annoy her, she never tires of its human side: ‘When Jesus tells us about his Father, we distrust him. When he shows us his Home, we turn away, but when he confides to us that his is ‘acquainted with grief,’ we listen…for that also is an Acquaintance of our own.” (Wentworth, Kindle location 1401).
Are we living in a time when God is hard to find? Our culture has shifted to one of uncertainty, a culture that isn’t afraid to express hate and fear. We are all “acquainted with grief.” Just last Saturday, 11 were killed while worshipping at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA. I cannot imagine the horror of facing gunfire while worshipping God. But that congregation did just because the killer wanted to kill Jews.
As Christians, it is up to us to reveal God to a community who wonders where God is. For many, God is hard to find: how can we find goodness in the midst of evil? In the midst of hate? In the midst of fear? We are the modern day disciples and apostles, those who follow and those who are sent forth (Matthew 28). This is not a time to reveal the judgmental, preachy, I am better than you type of Christianity, but the Christianity that Jesus preached: loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.
My husband Ron purchased a pound of cheese on Friday. He thanked the person who sliced and carefully wrapped his cheese. She responded, “you are the only one to thank me for doing my job.” Yes, she was doing her job, but how hard is it for someone to say “Thank You?” To spread kindness, love and care is what we are called to do. We have to remember that everyone carries one burden or another quietly within their hearts, including Christians, so is it really that hard to be kind?
It is my hope and prayer that we can all, since we are all acquainted with grief, make God a little less hard to find.
P.O. Box 472 – 635 Washington Street
Cape May, New Jersey 08204