The reminder of God's sure presence

There was much to savor last Sunday evening as I looked back through the day. There were the usual gifts of meaningful conversations with people after the worship services, of sharing the presence of Christ in communion and listening to scripture. There were the faces of young people in our Children's Choirs, from the Cherubs leaping up to sing "Praise Ye the Lord!" to the Choristers' exuberant "Who Did Swallow Jonah?" to the Connection Choir's musical affirmation of having the "Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart." And later in the day, after being at the amazing Encore Concert for Bridge in our sanctuary, I walked home with those gifts of music and faith shared by members and friends of our church echoing in my mind, along with their commitment to the purpose of the concert - making a home for the homeless. Falling asleep that night, bits of lyrics and melodies still floated in my mind, like  "Let this be our prayer..."

And then, like you, I woke up Monday morning to news from Las Vegas, too awful to comprehend. Journalists, law enforcement officials and leaders have been trying to help us begin to understand it as a nation, along with the rest of the world; all we know is that it is one of far too many incidents of violence we have experienced in recent times, and that it is far too easy for one person to destroy the lives of many others.

And we learn again, that in the face of the worst humanity has to offer, we see the best of humanity rise up in response and resistance. In an instant, bystanders turned into heroes, risking their lives to save others. In the midst of complete confusion and tremendous fear, many people found a way to choose incredible love, staying with those who were wounded. First Responders ran toward danger to protect as many as they could. 

The sorrow of what happened in Las Vegas is set beside many other recent sorrows in our world and nation - in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida, and in neighborhoods close to us. In the midst of all these needs, we will gather for worship this Sunday as every Sunday, to hear again who we can be, and are called by God to be in this world; to hear again of the dreams God has for God's creation; and to offer one another, in simple conversations, hugs and prayers, the reminder of God's sure presence with us in every moment, and forever. As the words of one of the songs from last Sunday's Encore concert put it:

We pray You'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go,
And teach us to be wise
In times when we don't know --
Let this be our prayer.

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