Perhaps the impending arrival of Hurricane Florence on our eastern seaboard is to blame, speeding toward us like a bullet in slow motion. Or maybe it’s just me. But regardless, I have found this week to be one in which the images seem sharper, the volume louder, and the persistent tension of what has been and what will be thrown into sharp relief.

Two towers, once unshakeable and strong, but ravaged by hatred and fear on a bright Tuesday morning some eighteen years ago. Two buildings, once useful and sustainable, now tumbling down so that God can make a people equipped and able to build up God’s holy kingdom here on earth. The sea and shore, once a balm of rest and play, but soon to be flooding and flattening the life around its edge. Individual minds and hearts and spirits, once open with boundless possibility but devastated by pride, fear, anger, depression, and grief as wide and relentless as the sea.

But just around the sharpened edge of the fear, I sense a breaking in of hope. Dozens flooding the Sanctuary chancel on Sunday to declare this season of our church’s life one of boundless home and building beyond walls. A handful of new folks in our community, gathering to learn more about a beloved community who is capturing their imagination. Bold courage in full measure. People stepping up and leaning in, reaching out in love to ensure safety and well-being of their neighbors in even the roughest of life’s storms. Care, honesty, apology, hope, admission of need, trust, and curiosity carrying us ahead.

As I watch, the images shift, sounds broaden, tension gives way. For its truth is as timeless as the One in whom all time and space finds its home. I see it anew: death and life. Endings and beginnings. Devastation and rebuilding. Brokenness and restoration. Bondage and liberation. Cycles as predictable as the tides that move in and out in constant rhythm.

But at the end of the day, at the end of this week, simply at the end, our promise is that of resurrection. And as we stand at the edge, we remember the water upon which our Lord walked and calmed with a word of peace, reminding those of us in all time and space who feel the rage of the storm:

‘Do not be afraid!’

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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