August 14 Edevotional
Often, when I’m pausing in the morning for meditation and prayer, there will be a song that comes to my lips. I think that because I grew up surrounded by all things church, including church music, these songs are deep in my bones, a part of me. Recently, the old hymn came to me, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, sweetest name I know, fills my every longing, keeps me singing as I go.” That is the chorus. A verse that came back, “There’s within my heart a melody, ….ringing sweet and low, Fear not I am with you, peace be still, in all of life’s ebb and flow.” (I missed a word here and there.) Kind of corny, old-fashioned rhyming, I know, but it’s what was there that morning.
I’m grateful for these songs that come from my past, sometimes more contemporary, but more often the older ones will come bubbling up. The music that speaks from my soul. That reminds me of God’s presence around me and within. I read in one of the many church life blogs and articles that come my way, these words from an interview with a pastor growing despondent about his work. Words that that rang true:
“Looking me in the eyes, he said, “Ultimately, I guess, I don’t know what to do because I don’t know how to talk about God in a way that people sense and recognize. I’m not even sure if that’s possible anymore.”
This becomes both our challenge and our possibility as we enter a new chapter in the life of the church.
Though we might behave otherwise, what confronts the pastor inside a secular age in this new era is not primarily the question of how to sustain an institution, grow a budget, authentically reach the “nones” or double membership.
These pursuits lead only to increasing fatigue and despondency. Instead, the pastor’s most pressing calling and deepest question has become, How do we help those who no longer need a God encounter the living God in their lives?
This question has its own inner dynamic energy, and pursuing it opens us to the Holy Spirit’s work to shape us in life-giving ways.”
I want to keep this question before me. I believe this is what the music is also reminding me, of that deep desire to help others experience the sweet, sweet name of Jesus, something that they may not even know they need or want. Keep opening up my heart, God. I pray the same for you.
Pastor Sherrie Lowly