Hurricane/tornado season has officially begun. Last week we prayed in the Litany:
As we enter upon this season of vigilance, we ask that you watch over us. Keep us alert and watchful in our days.
Protect us from all harm. Keep us from devastation.
Deepen our faith, that our fears disappear in our trust in you.
Physical storms are not all that we face. We also face other storms: challenges that are thrown at us as fast as a tornado can whip up debris and sling it our way. How do we deal with the storms or challenges that we face? What are the storms in our lives?
One storm is the storm of change. We have had so many coming at us lately that we may be developing “storm” fatigue. And yet, here we find ourselves at yet another moment in the life of the church, where things are different, and change is needed.
This week, I had the privilege of having lunch with Law Enforcement Agencies and other faith leaders of Jacksonville, talking about another kind of storm, the storm of violence, that seems to be rocking our nation. All the mass shootings, the hatred, the increase in crime in our communities, have community leaders reeling, looking for real answers which are long overdue.
Retired Sheriff of Jacksonville, Nat Glover, said at the luncheon, “We have been here before. We have had [many and big challenges], but we got through them. Each time we got through them, we got better. We will get through this challenge, and we will be better!”
Change, in and of itself, creates an atmosphere of fear. We lose control of how we do things, we become uncertain in the new way, not knowing what to expect or even what to do. This could easily lead to increased stress levels, and as we have seen in our country, that leads to violence, or perhaps I should say, violent outbreaks.
We, the Church, the Body of Christ, can and will get through this time of uncertainty and we will be better at the other end. As we put our trust in God, as we allow love to fill our hearts, minds, and lives, we put away fear and find the path forward that God has intended for us walk.
On June 12, your leadership will be entering into a time of discernment and planning for our future. We ask that you keep us in your prayers that we may remain vigilant to the voice of the Holy Spirit, that our faith will be certain, and that we will be bold enough to step out on the path that God sets before us.
I pray this for the council, for myself, and also for each of you as we move out of the isolation brought on by the pandemic and find our way back to fullness of life.
Yours in Christ,