“. . . I lift up my hands

“. . . I lift up my hands . . .”



“I lift up my hands to you in prayer; like dry ground my soul is thirsty for you.” (Psalm 143:7)

The picture is almost self-explanatory.  The storm clouds are gathering.  Trouble is on its way, but someone before me built a tall, tall steeple on a church because they wanted me to know what they knew when they built it – that troubled times and troubled spirits need to look to God for help, for inspiration, and for peace.  Whether it’s a large metropolitan area or a small rural village, in almost every instance there’s at least one steeple that seems to be acting as a road sign.  This particular steeple in the picture sits atop Wesley Chapel at West Virginia Wesley University in Buckhannon, West Virginia where United Methodists from across the state and part of Maryland gathered last week for our annual conference.  The clouds parted at just the right moment so the sun could spotlight the steeple against the clouds when I took the photo. 

In the case of steeples the sign’s not saying “Stop,” or “Slow,” or “No Right Turn,” but rather, “Remember!”   It’ not uncommon for us to ignore roadsigns.  You know what I mean . . .   How about the rolling stop, or the passing in the no-passing zone, or the 80 mph speeding in the 55 mph zone?  However, I’m convinced that the most ignored roadsign today is the steeple – Remember.”  Some steeples are pretty, some give us helpful information when we glance up to see the time displayed on their clocks, some give us a melodic tune from their carillons, and some serve as landmarks for navigating from the land, sea, or air.  However, the true purpose of steeples is often neglected – Remember!”

Psalm 143 is one of the psalms I often invite folks suffering from depression or some other sort of long-term suffering to read and consider.  It’s one of the psalms that reflects the feelings of a person in the midst of agonizing pain and suffering.  We don’t know the outcome of the author’s struggle but we do know that in their time of pain they remembered to look to God for hope.  They knew to remember because others before them had left testimonies in one form or another to their having found hope from God in the midst of their struggles.  The psalmist left their own testimony in the form of the psalm they wrote, so I suspect they also found what they needed from God.

What signs are we leaving for others to see and be invited to remember?  What steeples are we building?  As I write this I’m with our church’s youth group as we work with several ministries serving the poor and homeless in the Virginia Beach, Virginia area.  I’ve watched as our youth have worked really, really hard.  My sense is that their efforts have helped to build steeples, or roadsigns that point the hurting to God for hope. So . . . today I have two questions.  When you see a steeple do you stop and remember? and, Are you building steeples?  I pray that God will help me remember and build steeples so others will know what I know.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia


Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit http://www.survivingteendepression.com.

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at http://www.wipfandstock.com and http://www.amazon.com.



~ by revgenelson on June 12, 2013.

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