God is Always with Us

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” – Lamentations 3:22-26

On Wednesday morning, as I walked in the early morning light to water and weed at the Good News Garden, I played the podcast Pray As You Go and heard a beautiful song called “Always With Me,” by Paul Zach.

I can make it through the day When you’re with me on the way In my heart and mind you’ll stay

I can make it through the night When I’m clinging to your light You will make the darkness bright For you are always, always with me For you are always, always with me

My feet walked over the ground that thousands of people have trod for thousands of years, from the first Native Americans, to the Welsh colonists, to us today, greeting the sunrise, and seeing afresh the mercy of God’s faithfulness to us every day. How good, the writer of Lamentations says, it is, that the mercies of the Lord are new every morning. I think we need that phrase, “new every morning” because sometimes the night is very dark, and we are unsure what the next day will hold. God is with us, always with us, whether in the day or the night. This week I’ve held on to that truth, affirmed its hope for myself and for you, for the St. David’s community and broader world. People are struggling in many ways—maybe you are too, whether it’s a new medical diagnosis, or mourning the loss of more than 300 of God’s beloved children who died by gun violence just this year so close to us in Philadelphia. God is with us, always with us, whether in the day or the night.

In the calm and in the storm When it seems I’m all alone It’s your hand I find to hold

Each of us are facing a variety of ups and downs, triumphs and joys, struggles and losses. We are faced with such a cycle of beginnings and ends, life and death, and we all need an anchor to ground us in all that we face. I am holding on to the words of Lamentations and this song that remind us God is with us, always with us, whether in the day or the night. In the space of a few days, I have spoken with various people both at St. David’s and in the wider community, who were experiencing the joy of the birth of children and the death of loved ones; the joy of retirement and the difficulty of finding meaningful work; the excitement of new relationships and the sadness of relational ends; the joy of new housing acquired and the loss of moving; and so many other varied experiences. We all need to hear:

When it seems I’ve nothing left You speak peace in every breath For you are always, always with me For you are always, always with me

This summer, I’ve had the privilege to participate in an online training for Stephen Ministry. St. David’s has a vibrant Stephen Ministry where trained parishioners meet with those who are going through life challenges to offer encouragement and spiritual and emotional support and presence. The biggest take-away so far in this training has been that we are called into the very sacred ministry of providing care to those in need, but God will provide the cure. So many people need a ministry of presence, and that is one of the identities of church—tangible ways to experience God’s presence through the loving presence of others. St. David’s has many pastoral care ministries besides Stephen Ministry, such as our grief and bereavement support groups and support groups for parents of children with addiction, so that we can all experience God’s presence—through the words, actions, prayers, and fellowship of fellow Christians.

In the morning, in the evening When I’m waking, when I’m sleeping When I’m arriving, when I’m leaving You will have me in your keeping

For you are always, always with me For you are always, always with me

May you find God’s presence new this morning and this night, knowing deep in your inner being that God’s steadfast love never ceases and that God is with us, always with us. In Peace, Emily The Rev. Emily Zimbrick-Rogers Associate Rector  You can find information about our Pastoral Care ministries here or by contacting The Rev. Elizabeth W. Colton, Associate Rector for Pastoral Care. Also, please reach out to one of the clergy whenever you need someone to talk or pray with about your faith, life, challenges, and joys.  You can find a list of times for the AA groups that meet at St. David’s here.