A God Who Gathers Us Up and Delights in Us

Starling Murmuration, Sant Pere Pescador in Catalonia, Spain
Daniel Biber, 2016

For the first time since my twenties, I find myself living alone. Johanna is happily tucked into her studio apartment with a year long lease. Adam is living in an old rambling house near UBC with 13 other guys. Craig is starting his third semester at Simpson University. We said our tearful goodbyes to Gracie, our dearly beloved dog of almost 15 years, a few days before Christmas. The house is quiet and surprisingly tidy. I wander about from room to room, feeling the silence, palpable around me. I am surprised at how I want to face into this silence rather than avoid it. I sense it has much to show me.

Sunday, Luc told a searing, moving, beautiful story of God renewing and healing his heart after a profound wounding. Our scripture was from Isaiah 62:1-5. In these passages, we get a glimpse of a God who manifests by renewing and delighting. In the passage, the prophet refuses to be quiet about his hope in a God who would renew the people, city, and land that the prophet loved. God does this, the prophet tells us, because God delights in them, and it is God’s delight to renew them. Luc’s story was a beautiful manifestation of this God who renews and delights in his creation.

After it was over, I spent time reading old journals, pondering my own heart and the twists and turns of my story. I touched upon my own woundings over the years. I  remembered touchstone stories that happened along the way which facilitated my healing, renewal, and change.

What shifts when we view our slowly evolving journeys of healing and renewal as a manifestation of God?

What shifts when we imagine a God who gathered us up and delighted in us, even in our woundedness, and then, slowly over the years, tenderly guided us towards good medicine—people, places, books, experiences, animals, plants, actions, choices—that had the power to heal?

What if our own healing is indeed a cause of great delight in God? If we view God through this epiphany lens, how is our very image of God healed?

As I ponder, I also gently touch upon places within me that still are being renewed and healed. I am still wounded; still in process. I sense a tightness ease within me as I hold the wounds alongside this image of a God who gathers me in, delights, renews, and delights in me some more. I  glimpse that it really isn’t all up to us. That there is deep magic in the universe, a patterned way of God’s manifestation, which is moving each of us, moving the very created order, inexorably forward towards renewal and delight.

I recognize that the easing I sense in my body, in my chest, has a name. Hope. And accompanying hope, I feel a tiny flicker of gladness. Perhaps this too is an epiphany moment, a manifestation of God’s delight, in the very muscles and breath of my body. I am choosing to receive it as such today. 

May peace be with you
the peace of a deep breathe in
as you savour the good medicine God provides for  you this day
the peace of a full exhale out
as you expel the stale air of fear you’ve been holding in your bones
the peace of a pause 
as you imagine your wounding held tenderly by God 
the peace of an easing muscle
as you relax into a God who is working deep magic in the universe
the peace of a tiny flicker of delight

Deep peace and blessings.

—Anne

Rev. Anne Baxter Smith
Pastor of the Church at Southpoint

Worship Calendar

If you’re planning to join us for an in-person service, please read our Covid policy. It’s kept up to date, here.

In-Person 10:00 am on Sundays at 15639 24 Avenue, Surrey!

un. Jan. 30, 10:00 am (On Zoom)
Speaker: Anne Smith
A Glimpse of One Who Nourishes
Nehemiah 8: 1-3, 5, 6, 8-10 

Sun. Feb. 6 (In-Person at Sunnyside!)
Speaker: Anne Smith
A Glimpse of One Who Consecrates
Jeremiah 1: 4-10

Sun. Feb. 13
Speaker: Anne Smith
A Glimpse of One Who Sends
Isaiah 6: 1-8 (9-13)

Sun. Feb. 20
Speaker: Anne Smith
A Glimpse of One Who Preserves
Genesis 45: 3-11, 15

Sun. Feb. 27 All Out
No service –gathering for brunches

Wed. Mar 2    Ash Wednesday

Sun. Mar 6   First Sunday of Lent

New to Southpoint?

At Southpoint, it all begins with God’s love. Just as a plant grows, it receives sunshine, so we grow as we receive God’s love. At Southpoint, we are growing in our capacity to love God, ourselves, one another, and creation.

We seek to be a community of grace that is intentional yet organic, spacious yet authentic, grace-filled yet accountable. * We are fully welcoming. *

We encourage relationships rather than run programs, yet we recognize the importance of intentionality and structure as we nurture life together.

As a community, we seek to put our love in action. We value helping out on Sunday mornings, sharing food, and showing up in hard times. We keep our church life simple so folk have time to build relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. We encourage folk to serve in tangible ways within the wider community. We rent space rather than own a building, allowing us to do more with less, supporting missions at home and abroad.

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