“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance (Psalm 68:9)”
“Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor (Psalm 68:10)”
“You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people (Psalm 68:35)”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8)”
In our current cultural climate, thoughts surrounding abundance, power, and strength have come to the forefront in various forms. Due to the pandemic, people sought to store up what they believed to be necessities so that could weather out the quarantine. While there may have been an abundance at the start, it soon changed to a sense of scarcity. The pandemic also brought forth a change in power. Many who were engaged in a stable type of job or career found themselves being let go or needing to adjust to a different work setting to aid in social distancing. The power they may have experienced had been removed. Finally, as people continue to stay in quarantine, seeking to make the most of the situation, they also have experienced a sense of weariness. The strength they held prior to the pandemic is starting to diminish.
The Psalmist, however, brings us words of hope and encouragement regarding what God can do for God’s people. “You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance.” Here the Psalmist declares that in the moments of weariness, God refreshed God’s people and creation. In the season of spring, we continue to see how God refreshes the creation with new life. The grass is turning green, the trees are budding with new leaves, and flowers are starting to bloom revealing amazing color. In our lives God continues to provide us with the needed resources to lift our weariness.
“You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people”. While the power typically acclaimed by the world may not be where many of us are at today, we can find power and strength in the God who created us. This power is not something that is always recognizable by the world, and it may be displayed in the most subtle of ways. When we check in with those living alone, when we aid those in need of resources, or when we share words of encouragement, we are displaying God’s power and strength. This is significant during a time when it feels like much has been lost.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth”. Jesus speaks these words to his disciples prior to his ascension into heaven. He is letting them know of a great power that will come to them on behalf of the Holy Spirit. This power that the Holy Spirit brings allows for the people to do amazing things. However, it is a power and strength granted not to be taken for one’s own glory. Jesus is calling his disciples to be his witnesses. This will begin in Jerusalem where they currently occupied. They are then called to go beyond Jerusalem to the lands of Judea and even Samaria. Finally, it is a call to witness “to the ends of the earth”.
For us, as God’s children, we are also Jesus’s disciples and called to be his witnesses in our own communities, and even beyond. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been granted new life, and with the presence of the Holy Spirit, the power spoken about by the Psalmist and Jesus is now ours. May we reflect this power and strength, even when we are feeling weak and weary. May we lean on this gift, knowing we are redeemed and claimed by a God who will walk with us through the darkest moments of life. Through the trials, the challenges, the feelings of despair, may we remember the Easter proclamation – Jesus Christ has Risen. With this proclamation, we are alive once again. Let us rejoice and share this gift with all we encounter.
Pastor Arlyn ><>