September 9, 2019
All of them pleased God because of their faith! But still they died without being given what had been promised. This was because God had something better in store for us. And he did not want them to reach the goal of their faith without us. Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. (Hebrews 11:39-12:2 CEV)
Turning A Page
I mentioned last week that September often feels like a fresh start. But the previous eight months are still fresh in our memories. Joys and sorrows, wins and losses, hopes dashed, fears unrealized.
This year we have lost a few friends from the foundational days of Touchstone’s 35 years. Holger Larsen in January, Robert Struthers in June and Jim Boehmer in August. Others of you have lost spouses, siblings, friends, family. Our days are full of memories of ones who have left us behind.
Let me share a part of a prayer by the founder of the Iona Community which has helped me with the sense of loss while still having a sense of their presence; ‘Therefore, with all the powers that go to make the world, all the forces that keep us alive, we sing to You … with the whole realm of nature … with all the saints … who can’t really be dead … and with all those who used to worship with us on earth, and with our own friends with whom we used to stand in church, who now, in the mystery, still stand beside us, they in Your nearer presence … we join with them all singing in our hearts to You ‘Holy, holy, holy …’ (From The Whole Earth Shall Cry Glory. Iona Prayers George F McLeod)
When we pray, when we converse about their lives, I like the idea that “in the mystery” they still stand beside us while in God’s “nearer presence”.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, we join with those who aren’t visible to us any longer but are worshiping you with us. The pain of loss is real and deep but your presence and the example of our friends encourages us to keep going. Let us serve the brokenness of our world with the comfort we receive, sensitive to the pain of others…. For Jesus’ sake