It was a day of deep prayer across a spectrum of feelings at Island United Church. We gave thanks for our fathers, and father-figures. The communion table was covered with pictures of the mentoring men in our lives. We celebrated them with root beer floats after worship!
At the same time, we attempted to hold the unspeakable pain of events in Charleston, SC this past week. We prayed for Emanuel AME Church, that our brothers and sisters there would know God’s continuing, loving presence in their pain at the loss of their loved ones and the evil done in their sacred space. We remembered that we are one Body of Christ, and when one part of the body is damaged, we all bleed. Some things are almost more than the heart can bear.
In our readings from Job (38:1-11) and the gospel of Mark (4:35-41), unanswerable questions are posed. Sometimes, as it was for Job, there is no answer to the question, “Why?” or “How could this happen?” In addition to terrible, public events like the Charleston shootings, which make it clear that there are forces at work in our culture which must be named and repaired – we all also hold our private pains for which we cannot apply contemporary frameworks of reason and meaning-making. All we can know is that God comes to us, touches us, and accompanies us in our suffering. The specifics of our predicaments are not to be explained, nor – despite the prayers and well wishes of many, even a nation – can we presume that healing will come quickly.
We listened to John Lennon’s, Imagine. “Imagine all the people, living life in peace… I hope someday you’ll join us and the world will live as one.” It may just be that love is stronger than hate. Or fear.
Peace be with you,