Every Sunday morning, I talk to you in front of a group, on behalf of a group. I respond to the texts for the day. I acknowledge—so that we can acknowledge—our best wishes, our worst behaviors. Not specific acts out loud but specific patterns. Our lack of trust, our inconsistent faithfulness.

But I’m not in chapel this Sunday morning.

At the very time I would be reading and praying and leading, I’m in a plane. With a bird’s eye view of the coast and the clouds and the crazy quilt pattern of people.

I almost called it a God’s eye view. But this altitude and terrain isn’t what you see.

You see people. Always, you see people. Worried, chattering, sleeping, self-distracting, expectant, hesitant people.

So where I see creation from 30,000 feet, you see my response to your work, appreciation or deprecation, consumption or stewardship, delight in the interplay of hilltops and water vapor or mere distraction from my real work. You look at my heart and the hearts of the rest of us in this plane.

This week, God, I’ll be at a conference with rooms full of chaplains. My family and friends will be about their work, or looking for work, or retired from work. We will be rejoicing and lamenting, working (too much) and resting (not enough). We will be tempted to think of you look at us from 30,000 feet or from a million miles away.

But you are Immanuel, God with us. You are the one who promises that you will never leave us or forsake us. You are the Spirit who fills us, who broods over creation like a mother hen rather than a critic.

Would you bless us this week, with faith rather than fear?

May it be so.


"God. We Need You.": A Year of Prayer in a Hospital Chapel. Copyright © 2020 by Jon C Swanson. All Rights Reserved.

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