8I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. 27And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
28We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. 29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. 30And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.
Autumnal wonders. Geese skidding onto a still neighborhood lake on a sunny day, then wildly splashing, fluffing feathers and honking. My friend and I sat on the lakeside bench watching and listening, reminded of our fall Bible study from Gather magazine. The Bible study author Sara Olson-Smith likens the wild geese to the Holy Spirit: untamed, loud, fierce and perfectly free. Oh, the joy and wonder of that holy moment!
We needed that moment of relief from COVID-19, the pandemic that has dominated our lives and wearied our souls for nearly two years. It has robbed us of loved ones, restricted our routines and ruined businesses. Vaccinations and mask mandates, meant to save lives, have instead become a political flash point. Deeply divided, many of our relationships are strained or have broken under the tension. These entrenched divisions within our families, churches and community have led to feelings of frustration and hopelessness.
In the depths of our weakness, this wild and fierce Holy Spirit meets us. Like the boisterous geese, this spirit is busy. Interceding for us when we have no words, our hearts too broken from the suffering and division. Connecting us to our Heavenly Father for healing and comfort. Leading us to truth during these turbulent times. Promising us hope of what is to come.
The joy and wonder that we experienced on that autumn day are just a foretaste of the glory that lies ahead. As we are guided by the Holy Spirit through days of pain and suffering on earth, we eagerly await the birth of Jesus Christ, our hope eternal.
God, we lift up the physicians, nurses and medical teams who have been treating COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. Strengthen, encourage and bless them in their tireless efforts to be healers in our community.
Betty Hedstrand – Amazing Grace Lutheran Church, Anchorage