Reflections on Faith and Community
In this blog, you will find weekly reflections on life and faith. My hope is that, in some way, they will prove helpful to you in your daily living. May God bless you on the spiritual journey.
Andrew S. Odom
Help, God, the bottom has fallen out! Master, hear our cry for help!
Listen hard! Open your ears. (Psalm 130)
Yesterday when I had a break here and there, I sat in the corner of my office trying to write something regarding the Orlando shooting. Nothing came out, nothing. Since learning about it in between services Sunday, I have had no feeling, no anger, no sadness… a void. There’s a word for that. The word is numb. It’s what happens when something so despicable has occurred that there is no means of processing it. That’s what this is, and it is not of God. I think of the hurt, the loss, the families, the friends, and the people of Orlando. May God help and comfort us all.
When I was a pastor intern at St. Stephen Presbyterian in Fort Worth, I officiated at the funeral of a man named Jerry. He was shot dead because of his sexuality. I remember wondering how someone could actually do that to someone else. I remember feeling sick, like the bottom had fallen out. I remember the funeral home packed to the gills with people needing help from the grief. We were numb. I also remember that I was asked to do the service because St. Stephen had been Jerry’s safe place. He could come to that church knowing he would not be judged or looked at sideways or whispered about as he walked by. He could come and be known by no labels and feel safe in the arms of Christ.
Sunday’s news brought that same numbness to all of us. How could someone do this? How? A friend who knows the Orlando community well shared on Facebook that the bar where it happened is the only safe place for that community to go. The world needs more safe places. Part of the calling of the church, even at the risk of its own life, is to be a safe haven. It is my deepest hope that we the members of Canyon Creek are slowly starting to see ourselves as a place of solace, a place of safety, a place where someone can come without feeling judged or looked at sideways or whispered about as they walk by. May we be a place where people can share their faith, their hope, their pain, their numbness, and their joy… a place where people are known by the only label that matters, child of God.
At the end of the psalm quoted above, the psalmist offers a word of hope saying, “With God’s arrival comes love.” May the church become that reality in the world. Let’s not waste another second.
Published on 06/13/2016 @ 11:11 PM CDT