This past holiday weekend, as a horrible storm went through Ontario, it snapped and uprooted trees, cut power for thousands of people, and tragically, resulted in some people dying.
The first long weekend of the unofficial Canadian summer season began beautifully, with bright blue skies and summer-like temperatures, perfect for enjoying gardening or time outdoors with friends.
The cooler weather in the middle of last week meant the tulips would last longer, hopefully until the long weekend. Whether in my garden or yours, or in the gardens of our nation’s capital, the tulips continued to bloom.
In their incredible diversity, they remind us of God’s incredible creativity. They remind us that although we are not all alike, each one of us is a beautiful creation.
In the diversity, we can see each person’s unique beauty more clearly.
God’s love paints incredible virtues on each of us. With each hardship – like the cold, damp winds that we and the bulbs that sprouted up earlier this spring – the beauty of what God intends still not only emerges, but shines.
In each of our lives, there are terribly dark days. Doors slam closed. Windows that we hope will open remain stubbornly shut – and worse, they made appear clouded and dirty as we attempt to see and understand what’s beyond today.
And so on Saturday the bright blue skies of Ottawa turned dark and gloomy, as the storm ripped across the province eastward.
In this week’s worship service, Rev. Joanne takes a closer look at the apostle Paul’s travel plans. God changes them. At the time, Paul likely didn’t understand why, but we can see the wisdom now.
In Acts 16, God uses Paul’s Roman citizenship to gain him access to Europe. He used his education and upbringing to help him relate to others in a part of the world he knew nothing about. There Paul encounters a Gentile woman, Lydia, and she becomes the first believer.
The differences between the two individuals combined to create an opportunity for God to create something new, vibrant and beautiful. You can listen to our service at https://youtu.be/kyaC4Udi-qI
In the wake of storms, whether by weather or by events in our lives, we offer support for each other. We each are a beloved child of God and where we are planted helps us be a support for each other. As we support each other, step back and see the beauty God sees.
On Saturday, the hotels in Ottawa were all full. There was no chance there’d be a door opening for a third night.
So as I left the then-blue skies of Ottawa behind, I left not knowing what I would find ahead. Hours later, the storm landed in Ottawa, hours from where I now was. After 15 minutes of rain, the skies cleared to blue again. There were new things to discover.
In Brockville, there were tulips and opportunities to see God’s goodness. But it wasn’t something I couldn’t plan or imagine.
Thanks be to God.