Our Steady Center

Praise the Lord! O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; for God’s steadfast love endures forever. – Psalm 106:1 (NRSV)

In my early weeks with the first congregation I served, the co-moderators asked to meet with me. Church finances were stretched, they said. Would I consider reducing my hours to part-time … so they could stop paying for health insurance for me and my children?

The conversations I had with the other parent of my children flashed through my head. Are you sure, he had asked, that it’s a good idea to take them off my insurance and put them on yours? I tried to recall the church profile pages about budget and income, my memory blurred by a whirl of anxiety. Weren’t these the people who signed my covenant agreement, making promises on behalf of the church?

This was not the last crisis of leadership I would face in ministry, not the last time I would wonder what to do next. But each time, without fail, some word of scripture would come to me, would ground me both in the moment of need and in the days to come. In the order of service for that coming Sunday, I had written a responsive prayer using words from Psalm 106 as a refrain: “God’s steadfast love endures forever.”

The words became rhythmic in my mind, louder than the questions and accusations I wanted to fling at the co-moderators and at myself.

God’s steadfast love endures forever.

There would be more strife to come, but I had found my center and would not lose it.

God’s steadfast love endures forever.

Thank you, O God, for your steadfast love that never leaves us. In grief, anxiety, and shock, help us to find our steady center in you. Amen.

Martha Spong About the Author
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, new from The Pilgrim Press.