WS Update: Orange Skies, Spiritual Cries

June 12, 2023

Last Wednesday, at the height of the orange haze over Manhattan, my oldest daughter texted me one word to describe her view: “scary.” I responded how much more frightening these kinds of events must have been 300 years ago when the inhabitants of Manhattan wouldn’t have known the cause of the smoke and haze. This got me thinking about how despite the advancements humans have made in areas like meteorology and communication that help us understand why the sky was orange, we are still at the mercy of its presence, hence the reappearance of masks and the shuttering of Yankee Stadium. 

There are limits to our ability to control our external circumstances, just as there are limits to our ability to control our internal motivations. We have made remarkable progress at preventing and treating dust that damages our lungs, but we are no better at dealing with the dust that riddles our souls. Richard Holloway, the former Archbishop of Scotland, put it this way:

This is my dilemma. I am dust and ashes … riddled with fear, beset with needs … But there is something else in me … Dust I may be, but troubled dust, dust that dreams … of a glory in store, a destiny prepared, an inheritance that will one day be my own … so my life is spread out in a painful dialectic between ashes and glory, between weakness and transfiguration. I am a riddle to myself, an exasperating enigma … the strange duality of dust and glory.

Our lungs weren’t made for ashes of dust, and our souls weren’t made to be riddled with fear. The exasperating enigma of our shared humanity has been addressed by the one who entered into our world, having heard our cries, and who died so that we might never experience the dust of eternal death. So during those days when you look out the window of your life and experience fear, know that you now see through a window dimly, but one day the haze will lift and you will see Jesus face to face.

Take a few minutes to read and reflect on this Psalm and give thanks to the God who is with us.

Psalm 46
      1 God is our refuge and strength, 
         an ever-present help in trouble. 
      2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way 
         and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, 
      3 though its waters roar and foam 
         and the mountains quake with their surging. 
      4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, 
         the holy place where the Most High dwells. 
      5 God is within her, she will not fall; 
         God will help her at break of day. 
      6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; 
         he lifts his voice, the earth melts. 
      7 The LORD Almighty is with us; 

Redeemer West Side will expand to two Sunday worship services starting September 10 at 9:30 am and 11:30 am.

This decision supports our mission of living out a sacred call by Jesus to love our neighbors and heal our city. How? 

  • By making room for our neighbors
  • By growing as disciples

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