A Note of Sadness and Hope:
We gathered on June 12 to celebrate the inclusive love of God for all of us, marking Pride Sunday in the LGBTQ community. Our observance became poignant with the tragic news that morning of 50 people being killed in a shooting rampage at a gay nightclub in Orlando – news I received at the Peace during our service. Many more were injured. Our hearts go out to all who suffer violence and hatred, simply based on who they are and whom they love. We find hope in our faith in a God who loves us all, made us in all our human diversity, and calls us good. May the power of love conquer such hatred as this. JBM
Trail Notes for Sunday, June 19, 2016:
Today’s scriptures present us with two troubled men who encounter God.
Elijah is the first. He was a great and powerful prophet of God, and consequently deeply hated by the Baal-worshipping king and queen of Israel, Ahab and Jezebel. Elijah becomes tortured by his despair of ever bringing his people back to faithfulness to Yahweh.
The second man is unnamed: he is the wild, disturbed man in Gerasa, on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee (called the “Syrian sea” in our communion hymn). The man “had demons,” - he was tortured by unknown evil forces which alienated him from other people, and even caused him to harm himself.
In Sunday’s sermon, we’ll look at these two figures who encounter God in very different forms (one hears God’s “still, small voice;” the other meets Jesus.) Both men are transformed by the encounter. Their lives are forever changed. They are freed of their bonds and able to live anew, boldly, trusting God.
Sunday is Fathers’ Day, and I believe fathers face some similar challenges, stumbling blocks, “demons” in our own lives. We must find a way to confront them if we are to live in greater freedom and joy.
I don’t know if Elijah was a father, or if the “Gerasene demoniac” (as he is unfortunately known) had children either. But their confrontation with evil and despair is a model for modern fathers, I believe. We, as fathers, face both great responsibility, and ultimate powerlessness to control our lives. We can’t always protect our families from heartache. At some point, we’ll be broken by this. I was touched by a reflection on our brokenness – one that seems particularly apt for fathers today. See what you think:
Your insight, care, or sensitivity, or compassion, or generosity, or humility, which may be so evident to other people, has come out of your broken past. If they only knew what you know. God knows. Jesus has promised to seek and save the lost, which may apply to some part of your own past, where you were lost and are now found.
-Br. Curtis Almquist, the Society of St. John the Evangelist (Episcopal Monastery)