Each month a member of our congregation presents a “Monday Moment,” sharing what difference their faith makes in their life after Sunday morning worship has come to an end. This Month’s Monday Moment comes from Nancy Barber.
The Monday moments series focuses on how our Sunday worship impacts our lives through the week and outside these walls. This past week trumpeted that to me. It was a week of great tragedy, frightening natural disaster. Muslims across the world began the month of Ramadan with fasting and prayer to be closer to God and, yesterday, the Royal Wedding –a service of union and hope– was broadcast across the world. (Of particular interest to those of us who like the hats and dresses).
Our church has taught me that even when there is pain, disappointment, great sadness or anger, God’s love is still present in the world. I have learned that not only can those things be survived, but God’s love encourages us to respond to them with action. And I have also learned to be grateful for and celebrate the good.
When our membership was dwindling and literally the roof was ready to fall in, this congregation rallied around a capital campaign, repaired the building, and by doing so deepened our commitment to God and each other. Years later when the planes struck the towers the day after we had voted to build our addition, we decided to go forward despite how shaken and tentative the world and its economy had become.
And further afield, In the wake of the extreme damage done to New Orleans by Katrina, members of this congregation raised money and went to help that community rebuild. Most recently, after seeing racial hate and injustice throughout the world, the church’s Racial Justice Committee was born – pushing us to talk, read, understand and take action against racial injustice.
Many of John’s sermons help us to feel the power of God’s love and to see God in our everyday world. Two of them in particular come to mind when I think about my Monday moments. First was the one the search committee heard when John was a candidate. It was called Preparing for Miracles. John reminded us of Miriam and some of the other women who, when frantically packing what they could carry as they fled Egypt, took tambourines. Not extra food or water, but Tambourines – John told us they knew that, dark as things seemed, there would be a time to dance somewhere in the future. And, of course, we read they did dance when the Red Sea parted and they were finally free.
The second sermon which informs my Monday moments was one called “Restorers of the Breach”. John referred to Isaiah 58 where, in the midst of national turmoil Isaiah encouraged people to be “the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell”.
So, in a week like this one when we’ve seen the horror of the killings in Texas and the damage wrought by volcanos in Hawaii, the terrible plane crash in Cuba, we can know that God is with us when we cry, and we fume and we are afraid. But, as religious people, we need to take action – fight to prevent further killings, Send prayers, money, whatever might be needed by the victims of tragedy and violence. Learn how we can help in the world and do it.
But I’ve also learned to celebrate the good in the world. In that very hopeful wedding ceremony yesterday, Bishop Michael Curry quoted Martin Luther King, Junior: “We must discover the power of love, the redemptive power of love. And when we discover that, we will be able to make of this old world a new world”.
Here at FCC Milton I’ve learned the redemptive power of love and heard the challenge to make this a new and better world and that with God there will always be a time to dance.