Daily Connector | God cares, God is here | Linda Mercadante

I’m not very good at spiritual platitudes.  If that’s what you’re looking for today, I’m sorry but I’m not your girl. Being raised in a rough city, with one Jewish and one Italian Catholic immigrant parent, I was early aware of the dark side of life.  Religion wasn’t practiced in my home, but I did hear a lot about anti-Semitism and the Nazi Holocaust. When I heard the Gospel, I knew immediately that it was good news. But I saw Christianity was also realistic about evil. Just the switch in people’s reaction to Jesus – on Palm Sunday it was “We love you, man” and then just few days later “Let’s kill him” – was enough to convince me that life is not all rosy.  The mystery of God’s presence and promises in the midst of that was the key.

My year has been a real upheaval since June – the ending of a very satisfying job, losing my office, needing to donate most of my books and files, breaking my foot as I walked up and down stairs carrying my things out, unclear about what my work would be now and finding retirement more stressful than working.  In Feb. when my foot had still not healed, I had surgery. And then the pandemic. Because of all this, I’ve been staying home longer than most other people. 

But the interesting thing is, it’s been rather calming!  I’m tackling things that I’ve been putting off for years – highly non-academic tasks like cleaning out closets, donating long unused things, organizing shelves, and things like that.  Those areas have been easier to tackle, however, than my home office. I have stacks of papers that I’ve never had time to tackle. As I start to go through them, I realize how much I have enjoyed my work and the people I have met, especially students.

My hope is that this cleaning out and sprucing up is preparation for a new satisfying life direction. I hope it’s something that will use the skills and knowledge I’ve worked so hard to build up.  I tried to do my work for God. I loved researching, writing, and then bringing what I discovered to those who did not have the time or inclination to dig deep, unearth insights, and find ways to follow God’s grace for their lives. 

On Palm Sunday I watched a few different services online.  One had viewers sing the simple spiritual phrases over and over that can become hypnotic.  It didn’t help.  Another had a sermon on ‘all we need to do is pray’ and we’d find peace.  I’ve always prayed throughout the day, but I still feel the same frustration and anxiety as everyone else. Amazingly, very few of the glitzy online services mentioned this pivotal day in the church year. We can’t ignore the reality of evil in those ways.  Even so, the Gospel is good news. God cares, God is here – and we must live through this difficult time with that mystery.