The recent events in our nation have left pain and suffering front and center of the news and our lives. We’ve just celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, yet each week seems to bring more turmoil, more grief. It would not be surprising to learn that in this morass, many are wondering where God is, whether God is, and, if He does exist, how He could approach such pain. Yet for those who believe, we know the life of Jesus and the Holy Spirit bring the Trinity near. In fact, this next Sunday, June 7th, is Trinity Sunday. How do pain and hope meet in faith? And Whom do we meet there?
Perhaps it sounds odd, but one place pain meets hope is on the missional road All Saints begins June 9th through offering Alpha online. For many, this will be an opportunity to engage or re-engage with the questions of life for the first time. For others, it will be a new and different way to extend the outreach and hospitality we find in Christ to others. For all, it provides a way to build and share our faith, participating in and praying for what God longs to do: to draw all people, at all times, to life with Jesus.
I’d like to encourage us with the Bible’s words from the Daily Office last week. Early in Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians, he describes how “we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the face of great opposition.”1 This made me think about the source of power those early witnesses used: they took courage in God. The entire Letter is full of counsel for us as we face times of suffering, strain, isolation and change, but Paul makes one thing clear: we aren’t destined for darkness. God will faithfully lead us and lead us to, others seeking the way. It makes me also think of Emmaus: there’s no better place to be than on the missional road walking with Jesus, where He shares His very self.
“Grace to you and peace.” 2
1 First Thessalonians 2:2 RSV
2 Ibid, 1:1 RSV