I listened as a pastor prayed, “Lord, send your Spirit to Orlando to comfort those who are mourning,” and I thought, “The Spirit doesn’t need our sending to get to Orlando; the Spirit was dancing in the midst of the Latinx community of Orlando long before tragedy interrupted their joy.”
In fairness, it’s too easy for ministers to critique one another, too easy (for me) to critique each other’s praying & preaching & presenting. In fairness, people of faith often ask where God is in times of crisis, we often pray that God will be ascertainable in particular places of agony, and we have prayed this way & sought God this way for generations.
My soul thirsts for the living God.
When shall I behold the face of God?
O LORD, do not be far away!
O my help, come quickly to my aid!
Praise Jesus, even when we feel that God is far off, God is close to us and seeks us out, saying “Here I am, here I am” even before we call (Isaiah 65:1).
Praise Jesus, this coming Sunday’s Revised Common Lectionary texts bear witness to God’s faithfulness in all circumstances. Praise Jesus, this Sunday’s RCL texts tell the truth of God’s life-giving presence in the midst of a world full of death.
- Life to Elijah as he hides from the rage of Ahab & Jezebel and as he narrowly escapes the powerful wind & earthquake & fire (1 Kings 19:1-15a) — life, not hatred.
- Life to those who aren’t even seeking life, life to those who rebel against life, life to those hide near death because life is too painful, life even for those whose self-righteous incense burns the nostrils of God (Isaiah 65:1-9) — life, not judgment.
- Life to one bound in chains by the misunderstanding & fear of the community (Luke 8:26-39) — life and a name and a face and friendship to not walk alone.
- Life to all and life without division (Galatians 3:23-29).
Praise Jesus: in life, in love, in community, in horror, in fear, even in death, in all circumstances, God remains with us and the Spirit witnesses through us to joyful & audacious & loving life.
Preachers, how are your sermon preparations unfolding for Sunday? What global events & local events are shaping the good news that is needed for your particular context? Share your wonderings, your drafts, your blog links, your questions in the comments below and encourage one another toward Sunday.
Peace and love, y’all.