Terrifying events affect us in different ways. We are watching each night on TV as the survivors of the terrorist attack in Tunisia tell of their experiences. Some are clearly very traumatised. Others are just glad to be alive. One man showed the dent in his wife’s glasses case, where the bullet hit. It deflected the bullet towards her leg and away from her chest – the difference between life and death. I suspect that the glasses case will be shown to many people, as the story is retold. We saw the outpouring of support for the church congregation at Mother Emmanuel Church in Charleston, and the forgiveness that the families offered to the alleged murderer in the courtroom. A violent act that was intended to drive people apart actually brought a community together. And more than just that community. At Northern Lights MCC and in many MCCs and other churches around the world, that the Charleston congregation is being remembered in prayer.
There is a saying ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’. I am not sure that is always true. Some events in life just shatter a person completely and they never quite recover. However, most times we are able to gain strength and perspective from our most difficult experiences. This month at NLMCC, our worship theme is ‘Hope and Light’. As Northern Lights MCC, we are committed to bringing hope and light to those who need it. We know from our faith journeys that God is always with us, even in the most difficult and darkest times. If we can’t feel God’s presence, we can look around our faith community at those we love and trust. They can show God’s love to us, when we cannot feel it for ourselves. At one of the difficult times of my life, when my mother died, an MCC friend told me ‘Lean on other people’s faith.’ That was such a good piece of advice. I leaned on other people’s faith until I felt strong enough to believe and pray again.
Life is cruel, challenging, painful and gruelling sometimes. When we offer hope and light, we are not ignoring this. We are saying ‘It will not always be like this. Even if your suffering continues, there is joy and blessing to be found in life.’ May you see God’s blessing in your own life this week.