A Message from Pastor Dave
It can be exciting to think about what we would do if we won the lottery, the jackpot Powerball or the lotto, even for those—like me—who don’t play any of those. An old lotto slogan was, “All you need is a dollar and a dream.” I used to wonder who had the bigger dreams. Was it those who really didn’t need the money but would use it for fun – kind of like celebrities playing Wheel of Fortune and their winnings going to a charity of their choice; OR, were the bigger dreams from those who could barely afford the ticket to play?
I was just reading again Psalm 126 - (it is printed below this devotional). Psalm 126 is assigned for this coming Sunday. About 10 years ago I preached on this particular one of the “psalms of ascent” during Lent on six different Wednesdays at six different churches. The fortunes the people of ancient Israel were dreaming about and praying for in this psalm were far greater than any lottery winnings. They were in exile. They longed for their land and homes; longed for their freedom and to practice their faith. They longed to be known again as God’s people chosen to be a blessing to the world. And eventually, after a long while, their prayers were answered, they did get to “come home with shouts of joy!”
It is quite possible that COVID has brought a similar sense of loss and longing to you. Separated from family, friends, and worship of God, we dream of what once was. But we know we cannot go backwards in time; we can only go forward. I invite you to come home to St. Mark’s. I invite you, in God’s love and grace, to march on together with the Lord. Praying. Serving. Ascending. There we find healing, laughter and joy.
As I was writing this, Caroline Tyree was in the sanctuary playing the piano. It was music to my ears and melody for my prayers as she played the hymn tune “Be Thou My Vision.” Let us pray: “Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart; naught be all else to me, save that thou art: thou my best thought both by day and by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.”
In the name of our Triune God. Amen. (Text: Irish, 8th cent)
P.S. If you do win the lottery, after thanking God, also remember St. Mark’s, even our church’s new “endowment” fund.
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them."
3 The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.