God’s Power

God’s Power

Dear Friends, 

In a week during which we witnessed extraordinary exercise of power—for both good and for evil—it is somehow prescient that Sunday’s texts address the exercise of power, as well. God’s power.

I am late writing to you this morning. Images of domestic terrorists scaling the walls of the nation’s capital, worry over a friend hospitalized with Covid-19, our ongoing efforts to be a vital congregation while absent from one another, occasional impulses to indulge in righteous rage—these things make it hard to still my mind, to slow my heart, to steady my words.

With all these images and thoughts and fears crowding around me, around us, on Sunday we will read of God’s enormous power. Power that, in any other hands, could be used to destroy, demean, dominate. But that is not God’s way.

We begin in the beginning with Genesis 1. When there was nothing—no stars, no creatures, no time—there was God. And what did God do with the blank slate of the universe, the endless possibilities at God’s fingertips? God tamed the deep. God created light. God pursued goodness. 

Psalm 29 praises God who is powerful enough to snap cedars, make mountains skip rope and shatter the sky with lightning, but who chooses the path of peace.

In Acts (19.1-7), the apostle Paul comes upon a handful of disciples, isolated by geography, who have not yet experienced the promised Holy Spirit. With a touch of his hands on their heads, the Spirit pours over them and they speak and sing and prophesy like professionals.

The gospel reading (Mark 1.4-11) situates Jesus at the Jordan River, checking his watch, chatting with others, apparently unaware that God is about to open a whole can of WOW on him. Suddenly the skies are torn open, a dove-like Spirit dive bombs him and a heavenly voice says, “You! I choose you!”

That this God, who snaps trees like toothpicks and directs the dance of the stars, chooses to use this limitless power for creativity, for peace, for good, is music in our ears.

Meanwhile, the world’s wild dance continues to leave us breathless, frightened and confused. “What can we do?” you ask. One of the things we are doing at Ascension is schooling ourselves on the ways in which we are complicit in the misuse of our power, and gifted with the opportunity to do good.

On Sunday, after live zoom worship, we invite you to stay on the line for our January Vitality Talk. We will introduce you to our ambitious, focused and unflinching plans for reading, watching, advocating and acting in ways that address systemic racism and pervasive inequity.

Click here for information about our next All Ascension Reads. Our assigned book “Stamped” will open up conversations and offer insights meant not to punish we who have power, but to speak the truth of an unjust system in which we are often unwitting participants.

Later today I will get a first look at our year-end financials, and projections for our 2021 ministry budget. Even before we dig into the numbers, I know that you have been extraordinarily faithful and generous to our ministry and to all those in our care. I often get personal notes of thanks from our community partners for the ways we support their work. Earlier this week, I received a personal call from the ELCA’s director for World Hunger—Ascension is in the top 50 of ELCA congregations (there are over 10,000 congregations in the US) for financial support in 2020. Who knew? I did. Ascension is always working to use our power for great good.  

In a week during which we witnessed extraordinary exercise of power—for both good and for evil—it is somehow prescient that Sunday’s texts address the exercise of power, as well. God’s power.

Thank you for your faithfulness in these difficult times. Thank you for exercising your personal power for good. Thank you for trusting God’s power to be greater than all else.

“See” you Sunday, Pastor JoAnn Post

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s