Recognizing the “signs of the times” depends on so many things - eyes that see, ears that hear, a heart open to all that’s holy in our midst.

Largely, reading the signs depends on your connections – the other people in your life, what you read and listen to, what you believe, for heaven’s sake!

So how about hanging out with God? God is never absent, always seeking you (whether or not you are seeking God). Take a moment. Open mind and heart. Listen. Learn to recognize the signs of the holy in all times.

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They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord — and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent — its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord.

Isaiah 65:21-25

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Today's Scripture is not about building for Habitat for Humanity. This is about having everything you worked for taken away from you. We’ve seen a lot of that in our time — natural disasters, wars, wandering refugees. Being aware and open minded opens us up to the pain of the world as well as to the delights around us. Pain and disappointment are part of reality. No amount of faith or belief can sugar-coat or do away with it.

The words of Scripture have inspired people for generations. Christ is the Word made flesh. Hope has come again. The Lord is with us. We see God in the goodness that rushes into the vacuum of horror after a major disaster. Those affected weep in thanksgiving over the love that comes their way and the outpouring of help and support. God shows up in these hard times. Watch for it. God is there for you as well.

Barbara Gray

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Lord, please help me when the troubles of the world seem to overwhelm the good. Show me the way. Help me to remain hopeful and to believe in your dream for a world where all people live with opportunity and in peace. Give me the strength and courage to find ways to work for your dreams as well as for my own. Amen.

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Before you go, take another moment. Breathe deeply of the unconditional love, strength, compassion, and courage that God brings.

Then go to be the hands and feet of the Lord in your world — no matter how big or small. Make your life a “sign of the times,” a sign of joy and hope for each new day.

You can’t do it alone. That’s the key. But God is always there to help if you are aware and reach out for God's hand.

You’ll see the signs everywhere.

Barbara Gray

Barbara Wood Gray is a spiritual director based in Tucson, Arizona. She is married with a gaggle of children, their spouses, grandchildren and great grands. Although a “none” at the moment, she has long been attached at the hip to the Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her continuing delight is in her extended family, and in feeding and watching the birds on her patio.

The Calling

Ken Medema

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