[#pictureLent] March 5: GATHER

21 Mar 5 Gather-01.jpg

By Deaconess Martha Lundgren
St. Mark’s United Methodist Church
Tucson, A

First, read Psalm 107:1-3

My great-grandfather Joseph’s descendants have gathered for a family reunion every summer since I was a year old. Over the years certain things became ritual. Families report out the marriages, births, and deaths since last year. The softball game ends when our pattern-bald uncles need to get out of the sun because they didn’t bring their caps (again). One year my sister who was living in Amsterdam won the prize for having traveled the furthest to get there.

The best reunions are the ones where we linger on lawn chairs into the evening, catching up on the good stuff, and reminiscing about loved ones lost and times gone by. 

Of all the stories we tell, though, we seldom bring up our struggles, our doubts, or our deep hurts.

Perhaps we’re worn out, embarrassed, or ashamed. When there’ve been things I wouldn’t want even my family to know, I’ve simply sat in that circle and filled up on love.

Go back and read all of Psalm 107. The psalmist makes it clear we can trust that God is the God of “no matter what.” 

No matter what calamities, heartaches, or distance we’ve gone, God gathers us in. As God draws us closer, we are inevitably drawn closer to each other. To the places and people with whom we can sit in the circle and fill up on love.

Prayer: God of all people, God of all places, and God of all time, I give thanks for your “no matter what” love.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. What people or places draw you nearer to God?
2. When life is chaotic or you are fearful, what reminders of God’s love can you keep close by?
3. What ways can you show others God’s “no matter what” love?