Comfort in Creation
(Rev. Dr. Allison Tanner is Pastor for Public Witness, Lakeshore Avenue Baptist Church, Oakland, CA)
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved;
he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 He who keeps Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;
the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and forevermore.
I love living in the East Bay. All I have to do to find comfort is look east and see the hills, teeming with life and ever green with the hope of the heavens. Or I can look west to the ocean, knowing the winds of the spirit are always blowing, creating waves and washing up on the shores a sense of deep peace. The psalms repeatedly proclaim that the heavens tell of the glory of God and the earth is filled with God’s goodness. Often I find myself looking east to the hills, and feeling a sense of clarity that despite the confusion of life, God’s comfort, care, and companionship will see me through.
Psalm 121 is a great reminder of these truths. When we take time to “lift up our eyes,” we are reminded of God’s help. When we meditate on our past, we remember the countless times our foot has not been moved and we have been kept in the shade of God’s hand. When we listen to nature we can hear ancient testimony that stands the test of time: life endures, light returns, we are part of something so much bigger than this present moment. When we return to the fundamental promises of our faith, we can feel the power of the spirit continuing to sustain us, strengthen us and guide us.
As Advent 2020 unfolds, I encourage you to look east to the hills and be reminded of the help that comes to us from the maker of heaven and earth. You can also look west to the waters and find solace in wind and waves. All around us, we are reminded of deeper truths than our immediate stresses and struggles suggest. May we find comfort and grounding in listening to the larger story of creation, as we await the birth of Emmanuel.
Coming LABC Zoom Gatherings
No Soup, But Study – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday
Wednesday Prayer and Bible Study – 10:30 a.m. (same study as Tuesday)
LCC Community Meeting – 7:15 p.m. Wednesday
Together in Spirit – 6:00 p.m. Thursday
LABC Foundation Board – 7:15 p.m. Thursday
A Time For Prayer – 10:00 a.m. Saturday
Forever Young – 1:00 p.m. Saturday (Christmas Carols with Charlene)
Forum – 8:45 a.m. Sunday
Worship – 10:00 a.m. Sunday (Communion, Candle of Peace)
Bible Class – 11:45 a.m. Sunday
Self Help Workshop – 3:00 p.m. Sunday (Led by Mariel Paul, MSW)
Blue Christmas Service – 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 13