SUFFERING

Ah Lord, there is illness in the world and pain.
And even when it goes away in one person
there are always others.
Are you testing us?
Is pain supposed to teach us something?
Or do physical things
really not matter to you?
Then I remember your agony in the garden.
And that you allowed yourself to be crucified,
a very painful death.
What is your answer to suffering?
We are in your hands, Lord.
Give us strength.

Psalm 30:10
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me!  O Lord, be my helper.

Psalm 57:1
Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge.

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GRAY DAY

Lord, another gray day.
The flowers have had enough rain.
Weeds are exultant.
The gardener gets wet.
Sometimes, Lord, our lives
seem drenched with tears,
as sorrow after sorrow
is inflicted upon us.
We cry to you
and you still our hearts.
You say, “I am with you.”
Thank you, Lord, for being there
and loving us always.  Amen.

Matthew 28:19b
“And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Hymn:  Precious Name

TROUBLE

Dear Lord, the other day
I tripped and fell headlong
on the gravel path
of the garden.
I hurt my shoulder
and skinned my knee,
but nothing was broken.
What do you make of this, Lord?
Accidents happen?
My husband helped me up.
You, Lord, are with us
in good times and bad.
Your presence surrounds us
with love in time of trouble.

Psalm 46:1
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

SICK

Ah, Lord, I’m not well.
I’m hot and cold and achey.
I slept most of the day yesterday.
What a relief it is to be here
in this retirement community
where my husband can get a meal
and I don’t have to worry about it.
We are grateful that our needs
are provided for.
Lord, you healed many sick people.
As a human being you understand
our weaknesses.
Give me strength in this time of illness.

Romans 8:26:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Hymn: O God, Our Help in Ages Past

WAKE-UP CALL

Ah Lord, yesterday I got dressed up
to attend a coffee that actually is today.
My husband informed me of my mistake.
I hate to admit that I didn’t
know what day it was.
I had to change clothes for the cleaning
and gardening I did yesterday.
It’s been idyllic to be so detached
from things since moving here, Lord,
but now it’s time to get connected
and consider the possibilities
of service in your kingdom in this place.

Luke 4:8:
Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

Hymn: I Sing a Song of the Saints of God

GROWING OLDER

Lord, singing the hymn listed below
with the line, “I’ll be there
when you are old,”
makes me catch my breath.
It didn’t have that effect
when I was younger.
When people get up to give
my husband and I seats on the bus,
or when my daughters serve
the family dinners, I realize,
that I am considered “old.”
It’s hard to get used to, Lord.
Help me to age gracefully.

Psalm 139:7-10:
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

Hymn: I Was There to Hear Your Borning Cry

EDITH

You took her, Lord,
when she was only 98.
She was a member of our church.
She loved to hug people
and talk to them in person
or on the phone.
She wouldn’t use her walker
in church, but had someone
walk her down the aisle.
She loved everyone,
and we loved her.
Now you’ve taken her, Lord.
I know you will enjoy having her,
but we will miss her.

John 14:1-3:
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am , there you may be also.”

Hymn: For All the Saints