Just Hanging On

20141029_100427This week I’ve talked to many people who feel like they are just barely hanging on. Like that last leaf on the tree outside, they are ready to fall.

* Some are youth who are struggling in school (and their worried parents.)
* Some are overwhelmed with stress from work or the loss of their job.
* Some are grieving a death or chronic illness.
* Some are not accepted because of skin color or gender identity.
* Some are struggling with depression or addiction.
* Some wonder if God is really out there.
* Some are in congregations hanging on until they find a new pastor.

In the midst of these fears and losses we receive a word of grace and hope from Jesus. Read Matt 5:1-12.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted…
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Blessed are you…when you struggle, are overwhelmed or grieving, are not accepted or depressed. God knows and accompanies and blesses you—especially in the darkest hour.

Barbara Brown Taylor says it this way, “When despite my best efforts the lights have gone off in my life, plunging me into the kind of darkness that turns my knees to water, nonetheless I have not died. I have learned things in the dark that I could never have learned in the light, things that have saved my life over and over again.”

Maybe we are blessed in unexpected and deeper ways even in the midst of darkness and pain and struggles and questions. Maybe when we fall, we are blessed in ways we cannot be while hanging on.

Sunday is All Saints Day. We will light candles to remember those who have died—saints who have shaped us in the faith. We give thanks for the saints who have gone before AND ALSO for present day saints—you my friends—who carry me and others who are just barely hanging on. Maybe not only Jesus carries us in our hour of deepest need. Maybe we do that too as part of the body of Christ.

And we can rest assured: “Even when light fades and darkness falls—as it does every single day and in every single life—God doesn’t turn the world over to some other deity. There is a divine presence that transcends your ideas about it. Darkness isn’t dark to God; the night is as bright as day.” From Walking in the Darkness by Barbara Brown Taylor.

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