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Meditation 4 from Glen Davis

Last Wednesday morning I sat down to read my devotional booklet, and I was suddenly jolted out of my comfort zone. The writer (Henri Nouwen) pointed to a verse I had never noticed before. “The Lord God has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word.” (Isaiah 50:4)

In the Presbyterian Church, we ministers are known as “teaching elders”. We are called and ordained to teach the word, and this prophet was saying that one of his jobs was to “sustain the weary with a word.” I had never thought of my job in those particular words. Am I supposed to sustain the weary with a word?

But in this time of a spreading deadly virus I too, along with many of you, am growing weary: weary of news of deaths in seniors’ care homes, weary of news of those who think so highly of themselves that they can’t be bothered staying home and keeping at a safe distance, weary of news of the a lack of protective equipment for health workers and insufficient testing.

On Easter Sunday evening, my daughter-in-law told me that she is not following the news because it just tires her out, makes her weary.

“Okay,” I thought to myself, “you are a teacher of the word; you have been given a tongue so you should know how to sustain the weary with a word. So, what word do you have for the weary today?”

One of the things I have figured out after 57 years as a teaching elder is that I cannot be a good teacher unless I have tried out or experienced the teaching for myself. I am weary too. I have been forced to stay home alone, to stay away from loved ones, to preach to a camera instead of real live people, to be inundated with bad news of infections and deaths and predictions of these conditions lasting much longer than I had hoped or expected. So what word do I have to sustain myself, let alone those good folk who might be looking for a word from me?

And here is the word that came to me. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God, and that is what we are.” (1 John 3:1)

Please read that again. That is one of the most wonderful, most amazing truths in the whole bible. We are much loved children of God. You are a much loved child of God. And so am I. In the midst of this pandemic; in the midst of all the words that weary us, here is a word that lifts us out of our weariness. In spite of all the things that have been cancelled, God’s love has not, and will not, be cancelled. God will sustain you and me all the way through this crisis, no matter how long it takes. So please grab hold of that word, and let it lift you up into assurance and confidence; let it fill you with energy in your weariness.

Here is an invitation: If you are alone, please say this out loud to yourself, not once but three times, “I am a much loved child of God!” If you are with someone, say, “You are a much loved child of God.” – three times. I hope that will take away some of your weariness!

May the peace of the risen Christ be with you.