Note: Throughout the summer we are revisiting posts of the past year, grouped around common themes. We will return with new entries right after Labor Day.
How many more Sundays where pastors lead prayers in the face of unspeakable tragedy?
How many more church gatherings where heart-wrenching grief – for our world, our nation, the shattered lives of those we love – swamps well-planned and well-intentioned activities designed to help us celebrate our own community?
How many more church board meetings where the day’s news overwhelms agenda items that just yesterday seemed so important?
The “and yet” response to these questions is offered with tenderness and in full apprehension that our raging, broken world makes any call to “pause and go deep” seem as irrelevant as the empty ritual of invoking “thoughts and prayers” in face of violent tragedies.
If our only response to injustice is to throw out the planned Bible study to have a conversation on guns, then we offer nothing that the world is not already feebly trying to offer.
If we decide that preaching on The Sermon on the Mount seems trivial in light of unspeakable tragedy, then where, exactly, does the gospel belong?
If church boards don’t feed from the deep well of our faith in all times and circumstances, there will be nothing to draw upon in moments when a full-throated gospel word most needs to be spoken and heard into the experience of pain.
These posts are modest attempts to dig a deeper well for those moments, by helping church boards move toward the meaning in their work together.