I took the first photo below in the SPC sanctuary on March 2nd. Heidi had
placed flowers around the wilderness art project to help us start thinking
about what we might do on Easter Sunday. The sight of new life woven in
throughout the bare wilderness scene, stopped me in my tracks that day. I
spent some time in the sanctuary that afternoon, just taking the sight in. I
prayed and started to look forward to my first Easter with SPC.
I have looked back at the photos from that day many times in the past
weeks. Actually, that day was the last day I was in our sanctuary. It was a
moment I didn’t know I needed. The next morning I woke up to news of a
tornado that had hit Nashville, a city I called home for the past eight years.
Two days later I was on a plane to Slovakia for a family emergency...and
then when I returned? Well, life looked very different.
The second photo comes from East End UMC in Nashville. Their sanctuary
was hit by the tornado. They were actually using the same wilderness
worship resource as us...and you will see that the vase was left standing in
the midst of the sanctuary.
I think there are moments when it’s hard for us to comprehend all that has
happened in the past few months, and yet there are also moments of
beauty. Moments of resilience. Moments of love. I am deeply grateful for
that wee quiet moment in the sanctuary on March 2nd and for many
moments of life afterwards. Like I shared yesterday in the sermon, Jesus
walks with us in all of the blessedness and brokenness of life. Jesus was
present in the beauty of the SPC sanctuary on March 2nd and Jesus was
present in the brokenness of East End UMC’s sanctuary on March 3rd.
Let’s use Psalm 139 as a prayer this morning...
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts
from far away.
You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.