This morning was not as good of a morning as I could have had. Yesterday I took Anna and Judah to the city by my self for doctor appointments. I did not get back home till 9:30 last night. On top of that Sunday night I could not sleep because my mind was to active so I was up till 2:00am. On top of that my lower back started hurting Sunday morning before Church. So this morning when my alarm went off at 5:30am, so that I could get dressed up to drive back to the City (3 hrs) to attend our quarterly clergy gathering in the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference, it was really hard to get up to say the least. Normally I love going to these clergy gatherings because I get to see clergy friends and generally the presentations are good, plus I get time to pray and spend quality time with God as I drive. It usually is a break from my normal schedule, but this morning it was a difficult drive. I felt tired, in pain, annoyed, uncomfortable, and worst of all lonely. With all the feelings that we experience, Lonely for me is the worst. Mostly because being lonely is a distortion of sadness. Lonely is caused by the sin in the world. We were never created to feel lonely because loneliness is a lie. For me, loneliness comes in my life when life hits me the hardest.
So, this morning as I came to our quarterly clergy gathering, loneliness was at the forefront of my thinking and feeling. As I went into the church my actions were jaded by loneliness. I stood away from everyone, didn’t talk or address people in conversation. Even when my friends talked to me I felt distant and separated. As we started to worship, my loneliness was like a food stain on a white shirt. Have you ever felt that sting of loneliness? I really did not think I was going to be able to get out of this feeling. To add to my current situation, Bishop Robert Hayes Jr. preached on Jeremiah 37 this morning. In this passage Jeremiah was beaten and imprisoned and put in a dungeon all alone. Not only was I feeling lonely, but our scripture spoke of someone else who probably was just as lonely. It was in this moment that my loneliness came to a head. I was feeling as distant and far away from everything as Jeremiah probably felt in that dungeon cell.
What I love about God is that even when I get to those points in my life where I feel the most distant from God and everyone else God reveals Himself again and confirms the promise Jesus gave, “I will be with you always.” Once again God came to me, as God always does, in His grace. This time God addressed my loneliness in His holy Sacrament; Communion. As Bishop Hayes proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the liturgy of Holy Eucharist, as he broke the Bread and lifted the Cup, my soul once again united with Christ. It was as if the Lord of all Creation came and touched me with His very Presence and reminded me that He was with me. It is in Holy Communion that Jesus reminds me of how He felt my loneliness. At His death Jesus felt my pain, annoyance, uncomfortableness, exhaustion, and most of all my loneliness. As I received the body and blood of Christ, I felt God reaching out His hand and taking a hold of mine and whispered, “I am with you always.” Why is it that when everything is going wrong in our lives is also when God is revealed the loudest? When life feels impossible and you feel that the world hates you the most is also the time when we hear the voice of God the best? I believe that the reason why this phenomenon takes place is because on the day that everything went wrong for Jesus Christ, was also the day that everything went right for the world. Gods worst day became our best day. Now my back still hurts and I am still sitting in my quarterly clergy gathering and I am still tired, but now through Holy Communion I know in the deepest parts of my soul, heart, and mind that God is with me.
May you see God in your lives everyday, for you are not alone. May the Spirit of the living God meet you in the worst times of your lives to remind you that it will not last. May you put your hope in the promise, “God is with you always”…