Community in the Midst of Sorrow

Our faith community is hurting! And as we are hurting, we are also remembering our own losses! We cannot not remember the other losses: the losses in our own life!

Earlier this week a dad (a member of our church) passed away unexpectedly leaving behind his wife and three children: a 7th Grader, a 4th Grader and a 2nd Grader! My heart hurts for this family!

And yet in the midst of this tragedy, I have seen God in work through our family of faith! Things as simple as bringing them toilet paper and other paper products, bringing them food and simply wrapping them in love and prayer! (I hope they are feeling this love and prayer!)

I keep coming back to the Romans text where it says: “Whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lords!” So true but it is hard to trust in that promise when hurting so deeply!

More often than not, a hand on the shoulder or a shoulder to cry on is all we need to know that we are surrounded by love and community! There is something incredibly beautiful about a community founded on our own faith and God’s love for us! So for now, the best thing we can do is be community; holding each other in the midst of pain and sorrow!

An Underground Spring…

We celebrate All Saints Sunday on Sunday. On that day we remember all the saints that have passed away over the past year. However there are saints in our life who have already gone before us and those who are still among us. One of my favorite seminary professors posted a quote this morning on his FaceBook account from Frederick Buechner’s book “Now and Then.” (I haven’t read that book yet so I had to ask the professor which of Buechner’s books it comes from. I will be reading this in the near future) The quote reads “More than anything else, to be a saint is to know joy, not happiness that comes & goes, but joy always there like an underground spring.”

I love the image that this quote conjures up. For me it immediately reminds me of my mama…this wonderful woman of God who has lived most of my life with a mental illness. She is one of the most gracious people I know. I am not saying that she never gets sad because she does. She misses my sister and I and wishes we could visit more. I wish we could too. She misses her parents who have passed away. She mourned the loss of her marriage and our family when her and my dad divorced. Yet even through all these trials, she, more often, than not exudes joy! At our recent synod gathering, we were talking about joy and happiness etc. I used my mom as an example. Pure joy was seeing her face when my sister and I walked into her room at the nursing home/assisted living facility. Joy in my mom is like that underground spring always ready to burst forth. May we too be more full of joy like that underground spring springing forth for all to see. Thank you mama for showing me what that underground spring looks like!

So I will close again with the words of Buechner,”More than anything else, to be a saint is to know joy, not happiness that comes & goes, but joy always there like an underground spring.”