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A Time to Weep and a Time to Mourn

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Tim BrusterLikewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

— Romans 8:26

Friends,

We were already reeling from the devastation of the earthquakes in Mexico; the hurricanes in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico; and the wildfires in the Western United States and Canada. Now we are in shock as we mourn the horrific mass murder of dozens and the wounding of hundreds in Las Vegas. In the wake of all these tragic events we feel distraught, perhaps helpless, and — with the sheer magnitude of all this suffering and loss in our world — maybe even a bit numb.

What are we as Christians to do with all that?

We pray. And even when we don’t know how or what to pray (what can we even say to God in times like these?), the simple act of intentionally entering into a time of prayer calls forth the Spirit to intercede with help for us in our weakness, as Paul described in Romans 8:26 “. . . for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words” (NRSV). Sighs too deep for words. Don’t we understand that phrase all too well right now?

We comfort one another with the reminder that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

We work and serve, using our gifts, graces, and influence to make our world a better place in every way that we can.

A time to weep and a time to mourn.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 says that there is “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” This is a time to weep. It is a time to mourn. So, it is especially appropriate that we take time as a faith community from our planned activities and scheduled sermon series to grieve together, to lament these losses, to find strength in one another, and hope through our faith. In all of our services this Sunday we will come together in a time of worship dedicated to finding comfort, hope, and healing for our brothers and sisters everywhere who are suffering.

Not only will we honor this sacred time in our services on Sunday, but our Leonard Memorial Chapel will be open weekdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm for our church and our community to come and spend some time in quiet reflection and prayer.

We will return in our Sunday worship services next week to a lighter “time to laugh.”

In traditional Sanctuary worship, we had planned to begin our lighthearted look at some of the key aspects of our faith through our four-legged friends in a series entitled “The Gospel According to Dogs.” Recent events made this seem out of sync with all that is going on in our world and the impact of that on our minds and hearts and spirits, so we have put it off a week and shortened it to run October 15, 22, and 29.

It is a time to mourn and a time to seek comfort and hope in our faith and in community with one another. I hope you will be present on Sunday in one of our worship services for a special time of worship.

Grace and Peace,

Tim_Signature

 

 

Dr. Tim Bruster,
Senior Pastor

 

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.

Psalm 46:1-11
God is our refuge and strength,
    a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change,
    though the mountains shake in the heart of the sea;
though its waters roar and foam,
    though the mountains tremble with its tumult.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy habitation of the Most High.
God is in the midst of the city; it shall not be moved;
    God will help it when the morning dawns.
The nations are in an uproar, the kingdoms totter;
    he utters his voice, the earth melts.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Come, behold the works of the Lord;
    see what desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
    he breaks the bow, and shatters the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.
“Be still, and know that I am God!
    I am exalted among the nations,
    I am exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our refuge.

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