Last week in worship we did something different.  You all helped me preach!  You helped me proclaim the Gospel.  Together we read Isaiah 40:31, “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength; they will fly up on wings like eagles; they will run and not be tired; they will walk and not be weary.”

This text reveals two things.  First, we should expect weariness in life.  Life is not easy and filled with innumerable challenges and as a result we should expect to experience weariness.  Our weariness may manifest itself as physical weariness or emotional weariness or even psychological weariness.  But in reflecting on the passage from Isaiah, I think Isaiah is specifically thinking about spiritual weariness.  Because of the challenges of this life, the spiritual journey is exhausting.  As we face tragedy, grief, loss, and suffering how can these not have an impact on our faith, our understanding of God, and our spiritual vitality?  Isaiah’s words to us here should be received as grace.  It is as if Isaiah is implicitly allowing us and granting us permission to become spiritually wearied as a result of the trials, temptations, and obstacles we will face in this life.  You do not have to beat yourself up when you experience spiritual weariness; it’s ok; it does not make you any less of a lover-of-God or follower of Christ.

In addition to this word of grace spoken by Isaiah, we also hear from the prophet a word of hope.  In our weariness we will be renewed.  In our weariness we can expect to experience God’s renewing presence.  Though weariness will come, we can be certain that we will be met by God in the midst of our weariness and renewed in strength.

And here’s the part where you all came in… you shared with me the ways you experience God’s renewing presence in the midst of your weariness.  And here is the list you shared.

The following list represents the ways the people of Gardens Presbyterian Church experience God’s renewing presence in the midst of their weariness:

  • experiencing God’s renewal in/on a spiritual retreat
  • experiencing God’s renewal in a safe and comfortable place (i.e. my bed, favorite chair, patio)
  • experiencing God’s renewal through the act of writing a journal and listing some of the things that are making me weary
  • experiencing God’s renewal as I work to accept life on “life’s terms” and come to grips with the reality that I am not in control and cannot change things
  • experiencing God’s renewal in nature and in my garden
  • experiencing God’s renewal while floating in water
  • experiencing God’s renewal by listening
  • experiencing God’s renewal in silence
  • experiencing God’s renewal by stopping and engaging in a posture of stillness
  • experiencing God’s renewal by seeking others out for conversation and companionship
  • experiencing God’s renewal in conversation with others, specifically by sharing with others my grief or other hardships
  • experiencing God’s renewal when I ask God for wisdom
  • experiencing God’s renewal through song and music
  • experiencing God’s renewal through prayer and the practice of other spiritual disciplines
  • experiencing God’s renewal when I go for a walk
  • experiencing God’s renewal by letting go

Preach it Church!

Thanks be to God.