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Dear friends,

The other morning, I woke up with that groggy feeling of not knowing what day it was.  Some of you may know this feeling. It can be disorienting.  I find that when I am working on many projects that have timeframes that extend over several days or weeks that this is more common for me.  However, now that I am writing dates that are in a new year, in fact a new decade, it seems even more noticeable. It is in these days and nights I find myself more easily confused about what I should be focusing on.

I recently had a conversation with someone that this was becoming more their normal as they age.  Dates, names, events, they all seemed to become more like a wisp of a dream than firmly fixed memories. This can be a challenge when you know you’re supposed to know or do something.

Being certain of what you know you should do and yet having a bit of disorientation is common, but it can leave us muttering and puttering and feeling we haven’t accomplished what we set out to do.  There are accounts of God’s people throughout the Bible being certain of their responsibilities yet being moved by circumstances or the Spirit of God to other spaces and places. I am grateful for the gentle, and not so
gentle ways that scripture assures us that no matter what God is with us and God is our strength.  Following Israel’s exile to Babylon, Nehemiah said, “Go your way, eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions of them to those for whom nothing is prepared, for this day is holy to our Lord; and do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (8:10) And from his prison cell the Apostle Paul writes to the Philippians, “I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.” (4:13) In times of uncertainty, God’s strength is available to us as we move forward through each day.

This week I will be preaching on Matthew 1:18-25, the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph.  This passage may not normally be associated with joy, but who’s to say; maybe we just haven’t woken to God’s joy yet, however it manifests itself.

This Friday night at 6:30 St. Mark’s will hold its Longest Night Service for those who are feeling a bit disoriented this season.  It will be meditative and quiet for those who are wrestling with finding joy in this season of life.  If this is you or someone you know, I hope you’ll join us as we come together and seek God’s strength for our journeys.

Let it be so,
Jeri