Three years ago, I attended a Via de Cristo faith building weekend at Camp Agape in Fuquay-Varina. During one of our evening sessions, a guest pastor asked the group to fill in the end of this statement: God is … Answers quickly popped from around the room - faithful, loving, compassionate, awesome, merciful, all knowing… Suddenly, a voice in the front row rose above all the others with a resounding, “He IS!” The room fell silent as all eyes moved to the origin of such conviction. And there she was. I had seen her enter the room earlier, this older, petite woman sitting in the front row. She had arrived carrying a walking stick, holding on to a friend’s arm. All present stopped to reflect and absorb the meaning behind these two powerful words. After a lengthy pause, the guest pastor’s eyes drifted heavenward and he began to nod, slowly, and then with increasing fervor. “Yes,” he said with a huge grin. “Yes. He IS!”
No additional adjectives were necessary.
During this Lenten season leading up to Christ’s crucifixion and death, we stop and reflect on our sinful nature and our need for repentance, our need to come clean before a merciful God who because of Christ’s sacrifice, freely forgives, restores, and sets us aright by the power of the Holy Spirit. Grace upon grace, unfolding. For you. For me. For us all. The cost was great. The price was paid. We are free in Christ Jesus! Now, THERE’s a story to share!
Miriam. That was her name. The woman in the front row. After the evening session, I learned she would be my cabin mate. Later that night, when the activities had died down and we were together in our room, we talked. It was then she shared her story, the story of God’s goodness and faithfulness to her in a life filled with the unexpected and the rocky, a life where blindness enveloped her in later years. She shared her story without missing a beat. Fearless, she joyfully proclaimed, “God IS. He just IS!”
Dear Friends, we have such Good News to share with the world and with each other! God IS good. In 1 Peter 3:15, Peter teaches us, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…” As brothers and sisters in Christ, we lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to strengthen us in this journey, to share our lives together, to lift one another up and encourage one another in the race. We point our neighbor to Jesus, His saving grace, and His everlasting love. That’s what we do here at Resurrection. In big ways. In small ways. In together ways, we proclaim, “He IS!”
And Miriam? She’s here too. She’s a frequent guest at our Outreach to the Blind dinners. I didn’t know that before our weekend together. Who knew that our paths would cross in such a special way? God knew because He IS! Indeed, He IS our Everything!