19 April 2013

"Resume." Reflections on an Emotional Week (Boston, West, US Senate)

This morning as I silenced the alarm on my phone I noticed a bulletin from
The Washington Post: one of the Boston bombing suspects had been killed; another, his brother, was on the run. Boston was in lockdown. Since then I have been constantly checking my Twitter feed for updates. In this era of instant communication, much of what I see I read with suspicion, because every media is determined to be the first to report a breakthrough (hello, CNN). I am in prayer for the safety of all involved in Boston, and for a peaceful end to this horrific week there.

At the same time my attention has been split for updates on the explosion in West, TX. I am grateful for the selfless acts of those first responders, police and firefighters, who consistently put themselves at risk for our safety. At our church level, I am grateful for our Missions team, who have been bouncing around ideas for ways to reach out in Christian love. And I am still coming to terms with my frustration with our leaders in Washington who refused to take simple, thoughtful measures to keep us safer from gun violence. It has been an exhausting, emotional week on so many levels.

I'll say more about all of this in the message on Sunday, continuing our "Breaking Good" series. And these themes will be picked up in next week's small groups, which are using a companion curriculum to the series. We're certain to have more questions than answers. Maybe the best question is: Do we trust God in the midst of our struggles? 1 Peter 1:21: "You have come to trust in God, who raised [Jesus] from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God." I pray my faith lives up to that standard each day, and especially in weeks such as this one.



The other day as I walked home from the boys' school, I noticed a sign I have seen hundreds of times, but never reflected on before. Just past the school zone decrease in speed limit, the sign says: "Resume." I'll be walking past that sign again shortly, headed back to the school to read to Miles' second grade class. A normal, routine thing at the end of such an emotional week. Maybe there is a good message for us today. Resume. I'm sure we will stay posted to the events in Boston and West throughout the day, as well as local stuff that may pop up, but go about your life grounded in hope, peace, and love. Resume. Left go of fear and embrace God. Put your trust there, and not in yourself or others. Resume.

I hope to see you Sunday.

A Prayer for this Emotional Week
Lord Christ, this week has pushed our emotions to their limits. We have seen lives taken or changed forever at the hands of murderous individuals; we have seen lives lost or changed forever after a horrifying accident; we have seen our elected leaders fail to take actions which would have made us safer. We have seen heroic, selfless acts on behalf of strangers, and we are reminded of the sense of responsibility we should all share toward our brothers in sisters. Give comfort to all who mourn, give healing to all who hurt, and turn our hearts from vengeance to peace. Our questions and frustrations may go unanswered for a time, and it may seem that the darkness has overwhelmed the light. Help us, we pray, to trust in you, to be assured that our hope and faith are set on you-- and you alone.

Small Groups began meeting again this week!
You are invited to participate in one of our Oak Lawn small groups, which are using a companion curriculum to the "Breaking Good" sermon series.
Monday evenings at the home of Chris Bergh and Pete Peabody
Wednesday evenings at the home of Richard and Erin Eads
Thursday evenings at the home of Jay English
Friday mornings at the home of Sue and Mike Thorn
Friday evenings at the home of Joan Wu