I found myself this past week in an all to familiar position: gathered with a family at the death of their loved one. We gathered to celebrate her life, to remind one another of her impact on our lives, and to commend her to the mercy of God. But as sacred and familiar of a task as it was for me, I did reach a point in the service where ,y words stopped me in my tracks.
As I began a series of prayer petitions following my message, the words (which, admittedly, I’ve prayed before) struck me in a new way and stopped me in my tracks. I prayed:
“…Grant to those of us still in our pilgrimage, who walk as yet by faith, that where this world groans in grief and pain, your Spirit may lead us to bear witness to your light and life…” (Evangelical Lutheran Worship)
…where the world is in grief and pain, we point to light and life…
As I prayed, my consciousness zeroed in on the words in a fashion that hardly permitted me to continue the service. The moment brought clarity to the questions and helplessness I have been wrestling with in these pandemic, uncertain, and tumultuous times.
You see, I was tempted to believe one of two erroneous ways. Tempted to believe that my voice doesn’t matter on the one hand and tempted to believe that focusing on the grief and pain was my responsibility on the other. As a Christian, my job is to bear witness to the light.
Of course, as people of faith we can never turn a blind eye to injustice or hatred (nor can we allow ourselves to ever embrace them). Our response to a world in pain, is to point to the light.
As this paper is released on MLK Jr. Day, I’m reminded of his own tamale on this matter. He said:
“Returning hate for hate multiples hate, adding deeper darkness to a night devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
If you’re feeling helpless in this time division and disease, and you are wondering if there is anything you can do, remember the answer is always yes. Only your job isn’t to solve all the problems, but to keep sharing Gods life and light in the midst of them.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.