Notes from Jan

Hope’s Still Hanging Around

March 19, 2020

The table’s still spread with books, Bibles and notes on hope, last week’s topic for adult Sunday School.  Neither church nor Sunday School happened last week, nor have a lot of events since then.  Still, I can’t seem to pack it away to neaten up. Nobody’s stopping by, for good reason. Besides, with all that’s going on, clutter’s way down the list of my concerns.

So what do I do with this stash of hope?  As we’ve been reminded, this is no time for hoarding. OK, I don’t have that much toilet paper and only one small dispenser of germ-killing soap, a  travel size package of hand wipes and two containers of Clorox wipes for counter tops.  Besides, if pressed, I’ll share.

As I write,  I’m picturing Jud,  shaking his head muttering “She’s hopeless!” Not totally, I hope, which brings me back to the topic at hand. Who couldn’t use a massive dose of hope to combat fear’s tenacious grip?  Isolated from our usual routines, where can we find hope, or is it out-of-stock?

Good news. God’s not pacing with brow furrowed, puzzling over the coronavirus.  Envision God weeping  with us.  God  sees and cares, but still is Hope-full. Look outside, Spring’s on the march. Listen to the birds, they’re still singing. People,too. Five days ago, folks sang from their balconies in Siena, Italy, locked- down but freely spreading hope through song.  Scientists  still don lab coats and protective gear to plumb the unknown in search of cures for more than Covid-19.  Hope still hangs around, acknowledging while loosening fear’s grip.

While we focus on survival for more than ourselves, lets be on the lookout for ways God still shows up.    Think small; it’s the new big.

As for last Sunday’s text, it’s still good.

“Oh, May the God of green hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit will brim over with hope.” Romans 15:13










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  • Reply David L Smith March 19, 2020 at 10:59 am

    All good here.

    On our stroll in the spring-like atmosphere yesterday, we enjoyed seeing more and more tulip leaves erupting, one southwest facing (“Here’s lookin’ atcha, XXXX & NNN, wintering in TX”) bed with daffodils that will burst open in only a few days. many crocuses and snowdrops, a Dad playing soccer with his two toddlers at the local school where many families used the playgrnd, too… and a young mother running beside her three or four year old on a bicycle shouting words of encouragement. “He just learned now!” she said with glowing pride. Little girls with long handlebar- tassels streaming from their pink bicycles accompanied by their happily conversing mothers, many couples out walking on the Western Promenade, and a glorious view of snowy Mount Washington, 75 miles away…all is not lost!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 1:33 pm

      How beautiful this description of life being lived within the current confines, David. Thank you for capturing small and wondrous ways God’s still showing up in living color.

  • Reply Rita Smith Dove March 19, 2020 at 11:39 am

    Thanks, Jan. Your emails are also a sign of God-sent hope. Much love and air hug across the miles.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      And hearing from you, beautiful Rita, shoots me a dose of God’s goodness flourishing where you’ve taken root. Germ-free hugs coming your way. I’m sure our husbands are praying for us from their porches above. (Hope no theologians read this blog.)

  • Reply Mark Taylor March 19, 2020 at 11:53 am

    I heard more birds than usual on my walk this morning. I thought, “They don’t know or care about the virus. God has made them to sing, and they are singing. After all, today is the first day of spring!”

    “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?” (Matt 6:26-27 NLT)

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 1:45 pm

      Often, those words come to comfort my heart and inform my mind of unchanging Truth. This global pandemic IS serious and cautions must be observed for the greater good but the One who sees and knows all said, “worry won’t help.” Thanks for the reminder and for my favorite translation,Mark.

  • Reply Dan Russ March 19, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Thanks Jan! Your reflection on hope reminds me of Paul’s words to the Romans in Ch. 5::

    Since we have been made right with God by our faith, we have[a] peace with God. This happened through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 who through our faith[b] has brought us into that blessing of God’s grace that we now enjoy. And we are happy because of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory. 3 We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. 4 And patience produces character, and character produces hope. 5 And this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you, Dan. Strong words of encouragement for troubled times. Choosing to place our hope and trust in God “never disappoints.”

  • Reply Becky Manseau Barnett March 19, 2020 at 1:55 pm

    Thank you for these warm, encouraging, timely words, Jan! I miss you, and am grateful to be lifted by your wisdom today! xo

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 3:39 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Becky. Always love hearing from one of “my” Gordon “girls.” For such times as these, God has placed caring ministers like you and Will. “Trust and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8 NLT)

  • Reply Ruth Wacome March 19, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    As usual, Jan, your words “hit the spot”! Thank you once again!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      We’ve been hit with a lot these past few weeks. I’m grateful that something “hit the spot” and gave you a dose of encouragement, Ruth. We’re all in this together, heart to heart until someday when we’re face to face and hand in hand.

  • Reply Carolyn Sylvester March 19, 2020 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks for your post. Think of all the calories we are avoiding b/c the “pick your individual donut” at Market Basket display is empty. Only said they are in 4-packs now. But wait – that could be MORE calories…. oh well, just walk past the donut display case; do not pass go; do not gain 200 calories! Be healthy, Jan.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg March 19, 2020 at 9:10 pm

      Thanks, Carolyn. I’m not even going to the grocery store, much less the donut counter. Staying put and focusing on what I have versus what I wish I had. Learning to be content is on my to-do list.

  • Reply Dale March 20, 2020 at 1:54 pm

    The fact “hope” is a person makes having it much easier.

    Thanks for sharing.


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