This week's Devotional takes in the various stories that feature in the following pieces of scripture:
  • Acts 7
  • Psalm 118
  • 1 Peter 2
  • 1 Peter 14
  • Psalm 31 
Only One Life,
But So Many Ways to Offer It
by Elizabeth Vincent

Oh, does this warm sun feel good. Went on my walk today to think about all the changes to “my plan,” and where these changes might take me. After all, “life is short,” planning is necessary to make the most of them. Then, as frequently and gratefully happens, the combination of that warmth coupled with fresh smells and the busyness of awakening life captured my thoughts. New green leaves thinly wrapped the brown twigs of trees and bushes. 

Suddenly, a particularly twiggy tree branch reached down to scrape the cap off my head. Glancing up, a little annoyed, my eyes came to focus on tiny balls bubbling up from the bare tree limbs. It struck me that these tiny balls would blossom and yield summer cherries. Life springing forth to give sustenance to life. That glorious tree is doing exactly what it was made to do. With a little prayer of “thanks for that reminder,” I continued on down the trail.

Returning home, my thoughts turned to the lectionary scriptures for this coming Sunday: the story of Stephen in Acts 7, Peter’s reference to Isaiah, Psalm 118, and the cornerstone in 1 Peter 2, John’s account of the “doubting Thomas” in chapter 14, and David’s cry for refuge in the Psalm 31. It struck me that each of these writers had left to us words to strengthen, encourage, humble, and comfort – words that continue to accomplish this goal, centuries after they were written. Each of these writers and their words did and do what they were made to do.

Today, myriad questions swarm behind each of the changes we are encountering. Frequently, each question appears to float or sink in a stormy sea of possible answers. Planning ahead seems next to impossible – and in many ways it is impossible. None of us knows what truly lies ahead. Few of us even imagined that something like COVID-19 could occur and would so easily erase our plans. Media reports attempt to provide some platform of facts so that we might begin to plan, but then the facts change. That is, the ever-growing girth of coronavirus facts change. What is not changing are the many good facts about people. Yes, our first responders, medical personnel, grocery store employees, etc., but these good facts are being created by everyday people and they are being created in the simplest of ways. 

Recently, I was introduced to a YouTube series called “ Some Good News.” It is produced and hosted by the actor John Krasinski (he played the character Jim on “The Office”). The videos are brief, factual, sometimes humorous, and sometimes poignant, but each one brings to light the ways by which we human beings reach out with our own brand of thoughtfulness and kindness. These people – doing exactly what they were made to do.