This weekend we gathered for worship our eyes opened once again to the dark realities of our world, our ears tuned in to hear something, anything that would allow us to move forward, our hearts broken as we grieved the horrific circumstances of the mall shooting in Portland, Oregon, and the unspeakable horror in Newtown, Connecticut.
Each service, the mood continued to grow more somber as we spoke of the events of this past week. Though painful, we knew we had to speak about these things for silence and indifference perpetuate the gathering darkness. But there was a noticeable change about 2/3 of the way through my sermon. I recalled the words of Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor and outspoken advocate of peace and non-violence, as he mused on how he had been able to move toward light from, arguably, one of the darkest periods in modern history.
He said, freedom from the darkness begins by “being thankful for small things-gaining strength and courage to reach for bigger things.” So, we called to mind those things in our lives we are thankful for. Then, we stopped during worship and spoke of our gratitude to our neighbors.
From the front of the congregation, it was amazing to watch the mood lift, smiles return, and laughter descend on the community–all gifts from God. We reminded one another that each time we speak of and act on our gratitude, even in small things, we push back the darkness. Each time we speak of and act on our gratitude we reflect the nature of our God who entered a world of darkness with a light that can never, will never be extinguished.
It’s Monday. Thank God. I was glad I could go back to work today, grateful to be surrounded by a community that longs for and lives in the light of Christ. Peace. Kai