Crampons. They have become one of my more valuable possessions this winter. While the temperatures have been conducive to walking outside for exercise and a change of scenery, melting some of the snow around, they also hover in the freezing areas in late afternoon and evening. I love walking outside. But Minnesota has taught me that no tire or shoe tread is a match for ice, even a thin layer of ice.
I have strapped those crampons to the bottom of my shoes so that I could walk with confidence in the beautiful weather. They aren’t that impressive. Small metal cleats are what grips into the ice to create the sure footing. I am always amazed that this small addition to the bottom of my feet give me the security and confidence of walking on ice without slipping (and falling!).
The national ground around us is slippery, folks. Yesterday was a downright ice storm across our country. It seems nearly impossible to walk the landscape of America right now without slipping and falling. What is it that can give us a sure footing in the days ahead?
There are political answers to that question, but that is not my role with all of you. I am charged with seeking spiritual answers that will guide me and those in my spiritual care. My sure footing is my belief in a God of love and hope.
We worship a God who hounded after God’s people when their hearts turned cold, a God who sent prophets to woo God’s children back, and when all else had failed, came among us to demonstrate in flesh and blood God’s love for us. When the brightness of God’s love in Jesus illuminated the shadowy places in their lives, the people turned on Jesus, collectively nailing him to the cross. One would have thought that death would be the end of the story of God’s pursuing love for us and the absence of hope forever. But the love of the God we worship will not be deterred or defeated. Resurrection is certain hope and the never failing love of God! The resurrected Jesus speaks the words of comfort that enabled his followers to carry God’s love generations into the future: “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” This is where hope lies! I have hope in a God whose love cannot be defeated. I have hope in a God who promises to be with us always!
So in our country, with uncertain footing of rising deaths due to the pandemic, the icy terrain of racial inequalities (on full display again in yesterday’s events), and the slippery landscape of political crisis created by deep division, our sure footing is in the truth that God is with us always. We must stand up, strap the crampons to the soles of our shoes, and walk in the love of God, being God’s love in the flesh everywhere you go. In your activities, in your rhetoric, in your social media posts, in your conversations, in your willingness to see your hurting neighbors, be the love of God in the flesh. This is the sure footing of our future together. This is the way we walk with confidence. God is with us always! In this promise we have hope and we live out that hope. So be it!
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink