It was good to worship together yesterday. Thank you to all who worked hard to make it possible for us to do so. Pastor Chong led us well with his important message on the fact that yes, we can believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and that by believing we have life in Jesus’ name. Chong ended with these words: “If we believe that Jesus truly did rise from the dead, did triumph over death, then we believe that God is already at work in this world, not just sometime in the future, but already had and is continuing to work his resurrection life, his triumph over sin and death, into reality all around us. And we are called, in fact sent, to join him in that life-changing project. We are sent as Jesus was sent to bring God’s peace, to bring forgiveness, to bring faith into this world.”
Yet I write this morning listening to the news from Portapique, NS, with a feeling like I’ve been woken from the slumber of this pandemic. The world was actually seeming unusually peaceful until yesterday. And now this terrible shooting, in a rural place where nobody would ever expect it.
We grieve for our fellow citizens there. Our stomachs churn. We get angry because we know that, in the world we live in, we are physically unable to stop such events. We look for answers, even as we know there may never be answers for the really important questions.
And we pray. At least, we try to pray, but we find we don’t have words. We ask for protection. We ask for peace. We long that God would stop the madness.
In my need to pray, I turn to the familiar words of the Prayer of Saint Francis, a prayer that our world needs today as much as ever:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Lord, bring comfort and consolation to the families of RCMP Constable Stevenson and of all who were killed. We pray for the family of the murderer. Give faith and courage to all in Nova Scotia who reach out with your love and compassion now. Draw grieving hearts to you, Father.
Lord, we praise you that you have conquered sin and death on our behalf, so we need not fear death, whenever it may come to us. We place our trust in you and your resurrection, Lord.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
We close with this beautiful, peaceful song by Fernando Ortega, "Jesus, King of Angels,", suggested by Jane, and these comforting verses from Psalm 4:6-8. You may want to read and listen again before you sleep tonight.
There are many who say, “O that we might see some good!
Let the light of your face shine on us, O Lord!”
You have put gladness in my heart
more than when their grain and wine abound.
I will both lie down and sleep in peace;
for you alone, O Lord, make me lie down in safety.
Click here for God’s blessing in song.
PS – My online office hours tomorrow will be 11am-noon, and 1-2pm. Drop by and say hello
PSS – Please pray for the Elders meeting tonight and weekly Council meeting tomorrow night.