We begin each Session meeting with a devotional. Then we share pastoral concerns of the JCPC church family and other folks we need to pray for. At our meeting this past Monday night, I begin the pastoral concerns by talking about the recent shootings in Paris and how that has affected many of us. I asked the members of the Session how they were dealing with it and one of our elders said, "It felt like 9/11 again." Others shook their heads in agreement. The enormity of the loss, combined with the non-stop news coverage, took me back to those events that changed our world.
So, how do we as Christians respond to something like what happened in Paris? Feelings of helplessness, anger, and fear combine to raise our levels of anxiety. The age-old questions about suffering and why there is evil in the world resurface. As Christians, we wonder where is God in all of this. Why did God allow this to happen? Why doesn't God do something about this kind of suffering and evil in our world? What is the right response when something like this happens?
Last Sunday I talked briefly about these things at the start of the worship service. Scott Huie led us on praying for our world, the victims, and for wisdom for those who have to lead in response to such events. This Sunday I will be talking in the sermon about some of these questions I have mentioned above. The title of the sermon is "From Paris to the First Thanksgiving." The message will be based on the Bible passage - John 3:16-21. I hope you will make plans to be here if you are in town. Maybe it would be a good Sunday to invite a friend who is struggling with some of these same questions.
As Christians, we do not have to face these struggles alone. Not only is God with us, but we have each other to lean on as we face the challenges of life. No one can make it alone -- but together, with God's grace, we can make it through!
Prayer for Today
Loving God, we need your light in the dark places of our world. May the light of Christ shine along the paths of our lives. May we also reflect that light into the lives of those we meet. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus, the light of the world. Amen.