I didn't see the news about the tragedy in Orlando until yesterday after church. Our hearts are broken over this tragedy, and in times like this it is difficult to even know what to do. We feel utterly helpless, sad, angry, devastated, and many other emotions. My heart is heavy for the moms and dads who lost their children yesterday. My heart hurts for the brothers and sisters who lost a sibling. Friends lost dear friends.
It is in dark moments like this one that sometimes we feel that there is nothing we can do, or sometimes we think all that we can do is pray. This morning as I drove to church, I sensed the Holy Spirit prompting me to lead a prayer service tonight for the family and friends of the victims of this tragedy in Orlando. Also, we need to pray for the churches in Orlando as they seek how to best minister to their community in the coming days, weeks and years after such a tragedy.
Prayer is not "the only thing we can do." Prayer is the best thing we can do in a time like this. Hearts are broken and devastated. Our God can heal and mend broken hearts. People are angry and outraged. Our God can bring peace and calm in the midst of storms. The chaos of violence has seemed to triumph again, but our God is the one who has entered into this violent and chaotic world and overcame it on the cross by suffering with us through the violence this world inflicts. His resurrection reminds us that violence and death is not the final word.
Our God suffers with us. Our God weeps with us. Our God is stirred and moved by the prayers of his people, and even while evil prevails in certain moments, our God is on the move in our world making it new. We long and groan and eagerly await the Lord's restoration of all things. And in the meantime, we suffer with those who suffer, and we cry with those who cry, and we hope in the One who is coming again as we work to overcome evil with good and overcome darkness with the light of Christ's suffering love.
So tonight you are invited to join me in prayer in the sanctuary from 7:00-8:00 tonight, Monday, June 13. I hope that you can attend tonight, and I invite you to help me get the word out to our Old Hickory community as all are invited to come and pray together.
Your brother in Christ,