Forest Lake Talks

A Message from Ellen

November 10, 2021

November 10, 2021


I am struggling.  I find that the continued frustration and difficulty of the space where we are living has a way of making me feel pessimistic and tired at the end of a long day.  The grief that people have experienced, the suffering of so many, and the hard work that it takes to continually navigate change has the effect of making it harder to see what God is doing!

I don’t think I am alone. So, what are we to do? I’d like to hear how you are managing the grief, frustration, and anxiety. What I try to do (an everyday discipline) is two things.

First, I sit in prayer every day and try to release my frustration and uncertainty to God. My prayer is “help me to see as you see, O God.”  I keep opening my heart to release my anxiety and frustration. Second, I try to remember to list the things for which I am grateful before I go to sleep at night.  This is not my invention; this is scriptural advice.

From now on, brothers and sister, if anything is excellent and if anything is admirable, focus your thoughts on these things; all that is true, all that is holy, all that is just, all that is pure, all that is lovely, and all that is worthy of praise.  Practice these things: whatever you learned, received, heard, or saw in us.  The God of peace with be with you.”  Philippians 4:8-9

So then, I encourage you to choose to focus not on that which is evil, angry, unjust, or false. Put your attention elsewhere.  Choose to come to worship. Choose to pray every day. Choose to read Scripture every day. Choose to do a kind thing for a stranger every day. Choose to remind those nearest you that you love them every day. Then, I have another bright spot on which I’d like for you to focus.

On Sunday, November 21st at 4:00pm, Forest Lake will join with our Jewish and Christian neighbors in the sanctuary of Beth Shalom Synagogue to worship God and to pray for our country in our Community Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. Because the seating is limited and it is a Sunday afternoon, it would be so easy not to attend. But, spending an hour that day to witness to the power of God’s people praying for our country is a small investment. Please consider coming in person. All you need to do is call the FLPC Church Office to tell Adele you want to attend. Or you can join by livestream (watch our emails for the link).

Focusing on what is good, true, and faithful does not mean that evil and lies do not exist. But focusing on the good, true, and faithful helps us remember that God alone rules the universe and that in God’s providence there is nothing human beings can do to finally thwart God’s purposes of healing, reconciliation, and salvation. The cross of Christ is our assurance. Focus on God’s assurance. Everything else is temporary.

Julian of Norwich, an English mystic from the Middle Ages had a vision of God’s love in which she heard Jesus say, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”  Our faith is in God.  See you in worship, and hopefully at Beth Shalom on November 21st.

Peace and Justice,

Ellen F. Skidmore

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