May 26, 2021

The Daily Devotional ( is one of the first things I read from my email in-box each morning. It always provides a refreshing spiritual insight and frequently intersects with things occurring in my own life or the life of the congregation. Seeing Our Gifts, posted on May 22, 2021, by Jennifer Brownell, pastor of Vancouver United Church of Christ, connected with the Repurposing work that our congregation is undertaking. It also gave me pause as I searched through my sock drawer. “Why,” I wondered, “do I need with all these socks?” I share the meditation below:

Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. – Isaiah 2:5 (NIV)

This morning, I walked down by the Columbia River and watched a mighty ocean-going ship chugging toward the sea, heavily laden with enormous logs. Having lived my whole life in the shade of big trees, I know intellectually that there are places that need logs enough to transport them all the way across the ocean. But I don’t always remember that trees, which surround me in abundance, are not available everywhere.

We can’t see the forest for the trees, the old saying goes. But I think our problem is really that we can’t see the trees for the forest. In our churches, the enormity of challenges looms so large, it can be hard to see the small gifts that are growing up all around us.

For lots of us, our church building is a forest – a big old building full of rooms that over the years have one by one turned into storage rooms. But what if each of the rooms in your church building was a tree, a gift that is waiting to be seen and noticed as if for the first time? What might you be able to give to the world, if you could see with new eyes the gifts that your congregation has to give?

Holy One, we have what the world needs now: places to gather, faithful people, and, most of all, a vision of possibility, hope and peace. We have all that we need to co-create your realm, but we just forget to recognize it. Open the eyes of our hearts to all that we have to give, so that we might truly walk in your light. Amen.

Help us to see the trees as well as the forest! ~ Anne

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