In the Details – God Reigns

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 For the second day, I am sitting in airports, just one of many thousands effected by a snow storm and a storm of flight cancellations. I cannot complain – I was comfortable last night and am so now. I will have missed my Tuesday appointments and responsibilities but it cannot be helped.

But these are the events that precisely make up the stuff of our life. A plane doesn’t work. Traffic won’t move. The computer crashes. What was supposed to be due tomorrow is suddenly required today. And on it goes.

Our faith is tested, not in any larger global sense, just in the details of the day, the place where we live. Either we pray here or we probably will not pray at all. For me, it is the reminder to bring myself back to St. John Chrysostom’s words, “Glory to God for all things,” the words I used to name this blog and to remind myself to actually try to live what I preach.

This morning I looked up while waiting for the shuttle bus to carry me to the airport – when my line of sight was greeted by a lovely young woman who apparently had contact lenses that could only be described as designed to look like a demon. It took me back for a moment, and then reminded me to pray, and got me properly started for the day.

I probably looked sort of haggard, without shower or morning ablutions. I hope I did not look demonic. But may God help her not to want to appear as the image of something she truly was never created to be.

To be quiet inside, to be patient with what is beyond our control, to love everyone around, including ticket agents and airline managers – this is today’s Lent for me. And to pray for all around me and their protection and salvation. It is not wasted time or a wasted day – just another place to pray and new faces to pray for.

I am not so important that being thrust aside for a day matters to the world. Again our salvation is found in embracing the smallness that is the truth of ourselves.

Across the nation and world, people will today struggle with things that make my inconveniences seem very small. May God strengthen them to bear the day.

At the end of the service of the Sunday of Orthodoxy, we knelt and sang:

Beneath your compassion,

We take refuge, O Virgin, Theotokos.

Despise not, our prayers,

In our necessity, but deliver us from harm.

O, only pure, only spotless one.

Most Holy Theotokos, save us!

It was a sweet reminder of her protection (the cathedral was actually the “Protection of the Mother of God Cathedral.”) I knelt and looked at her icon and once again remembered that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses; prayed for and loved and never alone. May she place her protecting veil over us all.

About Fr. Stephen Freeman

Fr. Stephen is a retired Archpriest of the Orthodox Church in America, Pastor Emeritus of St. Anne Orthodox Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He is also author of Everywhere Present: Christianity in a One-Storey Universe, and Face to Face: Knowing God Beyond Our Shame, as well as the Glory to God podcast series on Ancient Faith Radio.



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5 responses to “In the Details – God Reigns”

  1. Frances Avatar
    Frances

    As someone said–I think it was St. Francis de Sales, who was a bishop and should know–“God is in the interruptions.” Having spent a great deal of time waiting in airports myself, I appreciate this description of a better way to spend the time than grumbling and indulging in self pity.

  2. Mimi Avatar

    Father, bless,

    May you get home quickly, and travel safely.

  3. Fatherstephen Avatar
    Fatherstephen

    I have arrived home safely – without my luggage which contains many things important to me. So if you would remember so small a detail in your prayers. But God is good in all things!

  4. Mary Avatar

    Luggage is in my prayers (nothing is too small for God). Glad you arrived home safely!

  5. Fatherstephen Avatar
    Fatherstephen

    At long last I have been reunited to my luggage – oh joy! Thank you all for prayers!

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