by Pastor Mike Carlson, Lead Pastor
So many times in my life I have stood on a frozen lake and watched the stars. There is something amazing about stars when it is minus 10 degrees outside. The sound seems to travel in amazing ways.
One of the sounds I have had the privilege of listening to on the cold lake is a timber wolf howl. To me that is the most beautiful and haunting sound you can hear.
Much study has been done about why a wolf howls. Some have said it’s looking for the rest of the pack. Some say the wolf is marking its territory, or it may be looking for a mate. But one thing is clear: the wolf’s howl is all about relationship. They howl to connect. And when you hear it in nature, you know exactly what it is.
I wonder how much we are like wolves. We look to the sky at night and we, in many and various ways, cry out. We cry for connection, we cry for companionship. At times our howl sounds angry or frightening, but I believe that deep down each of us is longing for meaningful connections that are life-giving and true.
This also is true of our relationship with God. We look to the cold midnight skies and we call out, we howl to the God of the universe. Then there is a hush as we wait for a reply. In the hush of the night, in the songs of a hymn, the touch of a hand, a word in scripture, a crumb of bread and a drop of wine, a silent reply as loud as thunder God responds to us saying, “You are mine, you are part of the pack.”
This winter, may you experience the deep and abiding call of God that races across space and time and pulls you close so that you will know how precious and loved you are in the heart of God.