by Revs. Don Dewey and Susan Gonzales Dewey, Co-Regional Ministers
There have been lots of things recently that have caused us to stop and pause and wonder ‘what’s going on?’ in our world. We have seen hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and fires that call up images of “last days." We have seen mass shootings, divisive politics, rampant fear and trouble in the White House. Perhaps this all seems more overwhelming because of the instant access these days to all the media but it does shake us.
A scripture that continues to ground us in these uncertain and troubling times is Psalm 46. In the first three verses we hear the palmist words:
God is our shelter and strength,
always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not be afraid,
even if the earth is shaken
and the mountains fall
into the ocean depths;
even if the seas roar and rage,
and the hills are shaken by the violence.
As God’s beloved, we are those who know where our hope lies because we know who we are and whose we are. It is in this knowledge that we receive our courage to stand with those who are living in fear and bring hope; with those who are weak and offer strength; with those who are vulnerable and bring comfort; with those who are marginalized and forgotten and offer love and belonging.
The psalmist goes on to say that the Lord Almighty is with us and reminds us again in verse 7 that God is our refuge. Then the psalmist points us in a new direction in verse 8. Here we are invited to not be caught up in all the destructive and fear laden things around us but to look to what God IS doing in the world.
Come and see what the Lord has done.
See what amazing things God
has done on earth.
Reflecting on some of the ways God is working in our Region gives us hope and encouragement. Here are just a few of the amazing things God is doing through our Region:
· Launching new congregations
· Ordaining new pastors
· Growing new leaders from our youth and young adults
· Training and empowering leaders to address the sin of racism
· Supporting and investing in leaders who walk with those caught in our broken immigration system
· Resourcing and guiding congregations through transformation
Most recently we experienced God moving in and through our Region at our Gathering. With nearly 400 Disciples representing the wide diversity of this wonderful Region in attendance, there was a positive spirit and a beautiful fellowship as we worshipped, studied, and shared in community.
In the midst of all that is swirling around our world today we took time to be reminded that God is our strength and our refuge. We paused to lift our voices in prayer and praise to our gracious and loving God. We turned our eyes away from all the chaos that can seem overwhelming to refocus on the One who brings order out of chaos. Yes, we again opened ourselves to God’s healing and hope-filled Spirit that we might be agents of Gods redemptive work in the world.
Dear friends, let us stand firm in our faith and in our love for one another and for all God’s beloved. Let us not lose hope or be trapped in fear but remind one another and ourselves that “The Lord Almighty is with us” and that God IS our refuge!
Together on the journey,
Don and Susan
Your Co-Regional Ministers