I would like to repeat “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in times of
trouble.” That is the opening verse of Psalm 46, one of my all-time favorite psalms. I quoted this
verse at the beginning of my pastor’s article last month. I feel strongly that we all can use this
firm assurance from the Lord again this month.
Yes, life here in the Chicago suburbs is still topsy-turvy. Father Dennis O’Neill from St.
Martha’s Catholic Church and I were talking a few weeks back, and we discovered a large
number of people both of us had talked to who feel disconnected and disheartened. Many people
are fearful, anxious, stressed out, and experiencing many losses and griefs.
Providentially, I then had a conversation with Mark Matz, the Director of the Morton
Grove Chamber of Commerce. He and I talked about a very similar thing, except this had to do
with the small businesses in the Morton Grove area, and how challenging this shelter-in-place
time was to the business community here and all over the country. Again, many people were
feeling disconnected, disheartened, and sometimes unemployed and desperate. What could we do
to help gather our community together?
Jumping to the end of the story, the Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that
we will offer a short, 4-part video series titled “WE GATHER TOGETHER,” available on
YouTube and Facebook Live. I will act as host and narrator for this series.
This community video project will premiere one segment each weekend in June. Each
segment focuses on a different part of this pandemic period of time. Education, families, seniors,
the local economic picture, community resources, essential workers, faith communities, and
ending with a look at the wider community’s losses and grieves from COVID-19, including a roll
of local deaths.
I hope to bring to this video project the blessed fact that God is with us through all these
changes of life. I also want to show how in the midst of all this uncertainty our families,
communities, workplaces and other groups are finding resilience, togetherness, hope and even
joy. Wise people remind us that we gradually heal inside and out when we come together to
name our stresses, losses and griefs. What is more, it is important for our community neighbors
to join (virtual) hands together in community and solidarity in the face of anxiety and fear.
Alone, each individual runs the risk of isolation and despair. Together, we can join as
neighbors, as a community. We can encourage each other and together find strength and hope.
Isn’t this what Psalm 46 tells us? “God is our refuge and strength; a very present help in
times of trouble.” God is always there to help, even if the mountains fall into the sea, even if the
world turns topsy-turvy – like, in the past months with this COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless,
the Lord is at our side. We are not isolated and alone, but together in community.
God is, indeed, our refuge and strength, a very present help in our time of trouble and
need. God’s name be praised!
Remaining faithful to our heavenly!
Help and Refuge,
Pastor Elizabeth Jones