Good Morning, from Lakeland, FL, the Annual Conference meeting of the Florida Annual Conference (the body).
A Song of Ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
I thought a Psalm would be a good way to start this Annual Conference time. Why, though, did I choose this particular Psalm? It was the one to which I accidentally opened when I started to read before sleeping last night – and somehow, it touched my soul. Here, I think, are some of the reasons:
I will confess to you that I was disheartened by our attendance on Sunday. I try never to be negative, but in this I confess to you, it is hard. I know, some of you to whom I write have left for parts north and are attending your home churches, and some of you were out of town, or working, or ill. Still – the numbers on an important Sunday in our faith were disheartening! Pentecost is the birth of the church, a celebration of the Holy Spirit among us! How can we be watchers waiting for the morning, if we are not waiting, trusting in the Lord; if we are not worshiping?
We lost a dear person from our congregation on Monday. Joy’s dad, David Ostrander, passed away. He has been very ill for some time and it was expected, but still sad.
I drove yesterday through something of a deluge, more than once! Yes, I was praying at times on the road.
And, there is dissension in the Church this year. And there are those who are trying to find a middle ground, a way forward in the midst of dissension – talking to one another perhaps? There is much talk about that – I do not expect it to surface at this Conference, but it certainly could!
And so, there were a number of reasons that I felt the need to call on God this morning, “out of the depths”! No matter what it is that disturbs our souls, we can call to him from the depths – even of despair. We can cry for his mercy! With him there is forgiveness; with him we can stand.
Notice where the Psalm goes next – “I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope. I wait for the Lord more than the watchman waits for the morning.” Can you see the watchman on the wall of the city, pacing, peering into the darkness, waiting for some hint of light, perhaps at first just the outline of the horizon, then the gray of the landscape, until finally the sun rise spreads rose and golden across the sky? We wait for the Lord even more eagerly than that. For in him we put our hope.
Trust in the Lord, put your hope in him. In him is our redemption!