Pastor Patti’s Ponderings

Rev. Dr. Patricia Kenney

Pastor Patti’s Pondering’s

Romans 5: 1 – 5 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God ’ s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

My good friend Sandra and her family live in Caguas, Puerto Rico. Sandra was involved in the campus ministry I led at Michigan State University. She is a person of deep faith in God, strong personal commitment to ministry to her church and community, with many spiritual gifts. I traveled with Sandra and others to Yokohama, Japan on a mission trip. In 1998, I traveled to Gurabo, Puerto Rico to co – officiate in her wedding. There I met her parents, pastor, and many other family members and friends.

I have been following Sandra ’ s periodic postings since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. I invite you to be inspired by her words and to offer prayers for her and all who are suffering the effects of the hurricanes …

How many times have I pulled on a thread of a blouse or skirt only to realize that I shouldn ’ t have, I end up ripping a seam or a hem. When I read the news of what ’ s happening across our Puerto Rico, it makes me think that most things, people and systems here have been hanging by a thread for too long.

When 150 mph winds blew by last week, 100% of the country lost power and most lost all communications. Today 8 full days later only 30% have access to phone lines. Only 40% of banks and ATMs are operational and about 10% have power. A few days ago only 40% of gas stations were operational and about 30% of grocery stores. And who suffers the most? The poor and the elderly. Those who live week to week, without much cash, without a relative to come and rescue them or buy them a plane ticket to escape the island of lacking that we are all in. It ’ s so sad to see the aerial photos that portray signs that read SOS we need water and food or a simple HELP engraved on a grass patch …

But then I read the reactions of people here who are filled with hope and it reminds me that even if our power lines, roads and financial system were hanging by a thread; our faith has and will be firmly planted on the rock that is Jesus Christ. And nothing can separate us from the love of God, nor poverty, lack of electricity, lack of effective government, lack of gasoline or communication, no, nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Staying strong, Sandra

PS. It rained today. Thank you God, we needed water!

After nearly two weeks without power things are rotting everywhere. Food, dead animals, stagnant water and people ’ s refrigerators. I thought I had dealt with ours when the power first went out. Thought all the food was out except a few bottles and condiments. Yesterday a strong odor alerted me to the contrary. Had to pull out the drawers, the glass shelves to get some strange liquid that looked like soy sauce … That was not the worst; mildew was starting to form on one corner and larvae was present. I about lost it when I realize tiny eggs were all over be- tween the nooks and crannies of my refrigerator. It took longer than expected to clean, but I got it all out. And of course we only have water from our tanks, so I had to figure out how to do this without wasting water.

It made me think of my life. When something starts going wrong, the longer you wait to deal with it, the bigger it gets. Our hearts, minds and spirits have lots of places where old things can rot and larva can live. We must confess, forgive, stop and pray before it gets nasty ya ’ ll.

Please pray that the water authority here in the island is able to bring many more areas up soon, so that people can have running water and more folks don ’ t get sick.

Staying strong, Sandra

Loving God, help us to stay strong in our faith and hope in you. Sustain our sisters and broth- ers affected directly by the hurricanes, the shootings, the violence erupting in the world. Re- mind us that only you have the final answer. You are the Creator, with power to heal and re- deem, and renew. Guide us and keep us strong. Teach us how to live, and how to help one an- other. May our lights shine in this world so much in need of your love. Amen.

Come together, let us make the road by walking? Blessings, Pastor Patti Kenney

Rev. Dr. Patti Kenney
Pastor and teacher, St. John’s United Church of Christ, Jackson, MI