Rev. Dr. Anna Verlee Copeland's Blog

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February 19 Post

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“On the morning of the third day there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled.” - Exodus 19:16

If you knew God would answer anything you asked, what do you most long to know or experience?

God is about to do a great thing in your life. But before that, the path forward may seem hidden, as if in a thick cloud, covering everything. Peering out into opaque light may seem daunting. Yet, if you’ve ever walked the coast in morning fog, you know that your senses sharpen, focused on putting one foot in front of the other until you once again experience the light.

God hauled Moses up the mountain, awestruck and listening. And then God spoke, guiding a people from the hard road of slavery to the path of freedom. Through the ten commandments, God then promised a life and a future that would set them forever free.

But before that, there was thunder and lightning, a thick cloud on the mountain, noise so loud the very ground shook. God needed to get Moses’ attention. Before God re-sets the compass and re-orients our feet, God has to get our attention, too. This is hard. We think we know stuff. We stride out confident, swift and sure. And then, we may catch a toe on some unfamiliar terrain and realize that we have stumbled and lost our way.

When lost, it sometimes helps to stop what we’re doing. We utter a simple prayer, “God help.” We wait. Then when we’re awestruck and listening, God speaks.

Prayer: God of shadow and light, thank you for meeting us at the point of our deepest concern. Increase our wavering trust and Illumine the hidden path, as we fix our eyes upon you and keep walking. Amen.

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Dr. Anna V. Copeland

February 12 Post

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“For God so loved the world…” John

Long before you were born, God wound your clock for good. You were created whole, perfect and beautiful. A delight in God’s eye, you slid clean into the hands of someone who received you with joy into the waiting world. On the cusp of Ash Wednesday just two weeks from now, and the embrace of Valentine’s Day already upon us, we recall that the Beloved catches us and cherishes us as no other can. Sometimes we forget how sacred and beloved we are to the Love that uttered us. We sometimes settle for so much less.

Not that many years ago I came across my second grade scrapbook. Inside were pasted every Valentine given by my seven-year-old friends. While the girls anguished over who to give each one, I learned only years later when I had sons, that the boys never read them. Among those saved was a special heart with glitter given to me by a boy named Donald. Though his mother likely picked out the box of Valentines and randomly addressed them to his classmates, I was certain he loved me. After all, he kissed me at recess and gave me the measles.

Remarkably, those Valentines stuck in my scrapbook alongside several church bulletins I saved from that same year. I remember how loved I felt sitting between my parents, separated from my brother who perched on the other side so that we would behave ourselves in church.

Though the years have passed and the scrapbook gone to compost, the memory of being adored by Donald and cherished by God remain. I’ve learned a few things about love along the way, however.

I’ve learned that it matters little whether you are newly in love or comfortably companioned decades after the inferno of passion transforms to embers. I’ve learned that earthly loves come and earthly loves go, but that God adores us forever. I’ve come to experience the unconditional Love of God that cannot be shaken nor utterly scorned. It patiently awaits our return regardless of how far we’ve wandered or how long we’ve been away from its presence.

God is so crazy about you that God sent an eternal Valentine into the world through Christ to love you up and set you free. That’s a Valentine worth keeping, always.

God’s Grace, Mercy, and Peace,

Anna V. Copeland
Interim Senior Minister
Community Church of Vero Beach

Prayer: We thank you God for loving us into being, accompanying us all the days of our earthly life, and on that final day, receiving us with joy into your waiting presence with all the saints in light. Amen.