March 22

There are three r’s in this passage that I think apply in any and all situations: rebuilding, restoring and renewing.

 The Lord God’s spirit is upon me,

    because the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me
    to bring good news to the poor,
    to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim release for captives,
and liberation for prisoners,
    to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and a day of vindication for our God,
    to comfort all who mourn,
    to provide for Zion’s mourners,
    to give them a crown in place of ashes,
    oil of joy in place of mourning,
    a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.
They will be called Oaks of Righteousness,
    planted by the Lord to glorify himself.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins;
    they will restore formerly deserted places;
    they will renew ruined cities,
    places deserted in generations past. Isaiah 61:1-4 CEB


Scott and I knew when we walked into the store that we were in for trouble. The hundreds of carts that usually stand idly by waiting for a customer? All gone! We managed to snag one outside, which helped. Experienced grocery shoppers usually serpentine their way through the store, looping alternately between the front and back end caps of aisles – not today! We learned that the only way to move forward was to institute the U-turn in every aisle. Shoppers in line to purchase crowded back into the aisles making travel impossible at the front of the store. Scott was frustrated from the beginning, lamenting the way the organic tomatoes hid in plain sight. It would have been easy to get snappy with one another and others. But when we can remember that in all of life, even in the smallest of incidents, we are partners in rebuilding, restoring and renewing – the options narrow and coping strategies are whittled down to those that do no harm. Our checkout experience was made easier by our friend Marcia, who helped us navigate the self-scan (yes, we did that – a cart full of groceries scanned by selves) without judging our decision. We even ended the experience with warm hugs and fond memories.

Today, remember: rebuild, restore, renew. Those are our marching orders!


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