Opinion: Finding Meaning

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How to Lead and Kindly Light

Due to the pandemic, people of faith were forced to worship differently. After the March closure of churches, the faithful could only worship in their homes. Laguna churches were creative and adapted with virtual services. Later, congregations worshipped outdoors, with masks and social distancing. Through it all, lessons were learned.

Many rediscovered the blessings of home worship. For the Beautiful Wife and I, it brought a sweet spirit into our home. Though we missed the benefits of gathering, essential to promoting faith and sociality, there was a silver lining. For many worship at home led to increased scripture reading and more profound prayer, with the consequential blessings of grace that enables the believers to overcome difficulties and to progress.

In a local virtual conference last Sunday, speakers shared their faith experiences of the pandemic. For one mother, there was the overwhelming challenge of replacing school for her children, and the need to find a source of peace. For another, reeling from the loss of a beloved daughter, there were, amidst her profound grief, sweet moments of comfort, hope, and learning. The key she thought, was to let God prevail, to be central to one’s life.

One family was coming to terms with the consequences of a past loss of faith, and a pandemic-inspired journey to recovery. The father recognized God teaching through the trials he experienced, and how learning can come through humble scripture study and prayer. Paradoxically, though a most difficult year, he thought it the best of his life.

Another speaker, a physician, quoted from Matthew 7:7, “Ask and it shall be given.” Inspired, he prayed during the pandemic for experiences to make life more fulfilling. His experience was that if you let God prevail in your life, in God’s due time, you will also prevail.

A common theme of the speakers was that despite the difficulties common to life on the “strait and narrow path,” God’s enabling grace is ever available. Also, that the age-old remedies of humble scripture study and prayer still work for those who act with faith. It brought to mind the hymn that begins, “Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom…” It seemed the pandemic, despite encircling gloom, had brought greater light to many, even the promise of a new awakening.

A better balance between worship at home and in our chapels could be another pandemic benefit. There is a yin and yang between the two, where the strengths of one can enhance the other. Both working together best bring forth our better angels.

I’ve been watching the waxing moon in the evenings. It began with that that slim, luminescent crescent some call ‘the finger of God.’ It’s grown through the week. The shining hours of the day are increasing also. It’s a time of growing light, a good time, a sign of potential pandemic blessings. There’s meaning in that.

Skip fell in love with Laguna on a ‘50s surfing trip.  He’s a student of Laguna history and the author of “Loving Laguna: A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.”  Email:  [email protected]

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