With this inaugural post, Shadyside Presbyterian Church introduces a weekly series of inspirational reflections from the Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles to support you in your spiritual journey. These pastoral messages will be published in the blog section of the church website each week. We hope this regular feature will help you to draw closer to God’s side in your life of faith.
August 12, 2020
If there is an overarching theme for living the Christian faith, it is that we seek to be by God’s side. Certainly, that is what we seek to do when we pray. Likewise, that is what our worship life does, bringing us into the presence of God, to present to God all of our best. Our prayer time and worship time are the most obvious aspects of living a Christian life; yet, they are just the beginning. There is so much more.
Let’s say we take time to have devotions in the morning. We reflect upon Scripture and pray, placing ourselves in God’s presence, with the goal that, throughout the day, we will remain by God’s side. In many ways, it is like what those first disciples did, when they traveled all around the various towns and even out to wilderness places. They were by Jesus’ side. Their days were like our days. They made plans for the day, as we do. They even knew some of Jesus’ plans for the day, as we may. But as each day unfolded, things came their way that they had not anticipated. So it was for all of the time that they spent with Jesus. So it is for all of us, all our days.
You will recall that Abraham Lincoln made an observation in the midst of the Civil War, that he was not so much concerned whether God was on our side, but rather whether we were on God’s side. In times of peace or in times of stress, when we are by God’s side, we will care for others; we will listen to new information, making it our own; we will be open to a change of heart and mind; and we will take risks. God’s side is where we can find rest; it is also where we will find purpose for action. Nowadays, we may find ourselves in places we did not plan, dealing with situations we did not anticipate. The goal is still the same. Today, and every day, live by God’s side.
The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor, Shadyside Presbyterian Church
Read more reflections by Dr. Dalles from By God’s Side.
Get to Know Dr. Dalles
Read more about Dr. Dalles.
Watch a brief video introducing a series of conversations with Dr. Dalles.