Dear brothers and sisters -
It’s not everyone…and it’s not all the time. But sometimes I see it in a congregational member’s eyes, or hear it in someone’s voice…the hurt, the pain, the bewilderment, the anger. Where did my congregation go? I just want it to be normal again!
Grief and loss are hard, any way it comes to you. The loss of a job. The loss of your health. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a pet. And yes, the loss of a church as you once knew it. Sometimes it takes time to get over it. And sometimes you don’t – at least not 100%.
My sister called me this week. Andrea and her husband recently retired and took a road trip to visit some National Parks south and west of their Sacramento home. One stop was Devil’s Postpile National Monument, a place we last visited with our family over 50 years ago. After a hike to the top, as my sister started her descent, she just burst into tears – overcome with grief at the loss of my parents. My Dad has been gone 47 years. My Mom has been gone 41 years. Devil’s Postpile was a great memory, but with such a layer of sadness.
If you are hurting – and even if you are not – I hope you’ll make every effort to join us for worship this week on World Communion Sunday. We need to remember we are not alone, that we join with God’s people across the globe to receive the grace of Christ. Some traditions call the communion meal eucharist. Dale Bruner points out that one word is two little words in Greek -eu meaning “good”, and charis, usually translated “grace” or “gift”, but Bruner connects to our word “caress”, or “touch”, or even “hug”. And isn’t that what we all need – God’s good hug in Jesus Christ – to get us through all the hard times?
Be the church!