Monday: Psalm 37, 1 Samuel 6:1-15, Acts 17:16-34

from Dave Friedrich

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us."  - Acts 17:26-27 (ESV)

Have you ever noticed when you play hide-and-seek with little children they want to be found? This becomes apparent in the way they hide: partly hidden and partly visible. And when you find them they let out that delightful shriek. Have you ever considered that life with God is something like hide-and-seek, where God is 'hiding' but is also partly visible, that he wants to be found? 

To paraphrase Pascal, there is enough of God revealed in the world for those who want to find him, and there is enough of God hidden in the world for those who don't. Paul tells the Athenians that God has orchestrated when and where people would be born so that they would "seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him." God makes the first move. He is orchestrating and seeking us before we seek him. He leaves us clues, but he doesn't force himself onto us. He wants us to feel and look for him, without making it too hard.  So he's not that far from any one of us, because he wants to be found.           

Dave lives in Southborough with his family and still loves to play hide-and-seek.       

Monday: Psalm 20-22, Ruth 3, Acts 13.44-14.7

from Brittany Yeager

In Psalm 22, we hear David's honest question of "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?" While the psalm goes on to exult in the triumph of God, that exultation is ushered in by lamentation and anguish. Psalm 22 is traditionally read at our Good Friday service.

I heard once that the Psalms show us the full range of human emotion and call it worship. Psalm 22 is a such a clear picture of this: raw, unfiltered words spoken to God with an expectation that he will listen. And as he listens to us, he transforms us, reorienting us to his steadfast love shown to his children. A couple years ago, our reader read the first half of the Psalm with such frenzy and distress, then transitioned to a much slower, calmer reading of the second half. I had never heard it read like this before and it moved me so deeply. He expressed this transformation so beautifully and it has stuck with me ever since.

As we read this Psalm and meditate on the words, emotions, transformation it provides, may we ourselves be transformed by the steadfast love of God, a love that enters into our darkest, most confusing moments and transforms them into moments of worship.

Monday: Psalm 127-131, Acts 6.1-7.16, Matthew 14.1-13

from Aanchal Narang

I’m writing this reflection at noon on a Sunday: I’ve only gotten out of bed a few times (for medicine, to fill a hot water bottle, to get some coffee). Church didn’t happen this morning and I wish I could say I spent the morning more productively than I did – I binged on Netflix and ordered socks from Amazon. 

I started working on a farm about two weeks ago, and it has been so sweet. I come home covered with a thick layer of dirt and am tanner than I usually am. I’ve gotten to enjoy scallions in my salad and strawberries right from the plant.

But this Friday I woke up with a horrendous cold (courtesy of the heavy showers this week and my perpetually waterlogged boots), my arms covered in a diabolical sun allergy, and my back seized up from planting and harvesting.  I had to call off work and I’ve been in this state pretty much all weekend.

Being outdoors is something I really enjoy, and so is farming. It felt serendipitous, getting this farming job, at the time that I did. I’ve been ill for 6 months and just began feeling better about a month before I started at the farm, so it’s quite discouraging to be brought back to my bed so soon after I left it. 

I think of “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain, unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127.1) At another time (and perhaps, at moments still), I would have believed that my skin burst at the sight of sun because I shouldn’t be outside, or that my back seized up because I shouldn’t be working on a farm. It’d be easy for me to fall into that trap. 

But I’ve come to know God’s love for me more and more this past year, and I don’t believe that He’s the punishing overseer I’ve thought he was. I’ve felt His tenderness. And I believe He’s building something in me – something in this time of forced rest. 

Perhaps he’s building in me a stronger foundation, one that isn’t so swayed by each passing wind of frustration, one that can also feel His closeness in each circumstance anyway. Before, I searched for certainty – even if it meant I had to brand God as a punisher. Certainty made a situation (and God) more manageable. 

But, as I learn more about this new God, this true God, I’m continuously walking in uncertainty. And I’m okay (not happy, but okay) to sit in my bed, put lotion on my arms, and heat my back as I let my God do what He needs to do. And I’m okay not to know, because I trust in how and what He builds. 

Aanchal Narang is a writer and wannabe farmer living in Jamiaca Plain. This is how you say her name:  
1. Aanchal -   Aaaah – n – chuhhhhhl  (the third ‘a’ is pronounced like the ‘u’ in gum)
2. Narang -   Naaaaaaa- rung (rung like rungs of a ladder)
If you have questions, please ask.