The word presence is defined as the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being contemporaneous within a place, thing or time.
Scripture chronicles the presence of God in our lives. In John 1:1 we are reminded: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (KJV) We can take great comfort in Psalms 46:1 which tell us that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. The marching orders of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20) ends with the blessed assurance of the risen savior saying….” I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (NIV)
The word "pastor" derives from a Latin word for "shepherd” Presence is essential for being a shepherd, and I believe that presence is Godly ordained and is cornerstone of being a pastor, a parent or any role we care to engage..
Last week we saw the importance of presence as Judge Brett Kavanaugh and
Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
The gripping testimony of both Dr. Ford and Judge Kavanaugh reminds us of another important presence that we should all take part in. That presence is voting. Voting is vital for the health of our Democracy, however voter turnout when compared to other industrialized counties is very low. According to the voter advocacy group Fair Vote voter turnout in the United States is about 60% in presidential years and then dips to 40% for midterm elections.
With the midterms 37 days away at this writing I urge you to use your presence as I am with family, friends and others in your circle of influence make certain that they vote.
In Sparta, Georgia where I live and pastor we have registered church members with a special emphasis on younger voters. (October 9 is the last day to register for the midterm) Plus, we are working with community and church leaders to have a “souls to the polls” day on Saturday, October 27. (Early voting in Georgia starts on October 15th)
One name for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means “God with us”. As a nation God’s presence is always with us in the joyous moments as we celebrate national victories like winning Olympic Gold. God’s presence is with us in times of war and crisis as when Hurricane Katarina hit New Orleans. And yes God’s presence was with us even during those difficult hearings last week.
So let us feel Emmanuel’s presence as we go forward from the Kavanaugh hearings and move into the midterm elections confident that with God’s presence there are better days ahead.