Sydney to Orlando

photo-1417144413558-cf029e0c7a04Each Wednesday this year I spend the evening at a church in the city. It’s a healing service. We sing, and we sermon, and we pray. We pray because we have a good father who loves us and who hears our cries for help and hears us even when we cannot find words to say. He hears our prayers and he answers them. The healing service is full of stories of healing and salvation and hope and tonight, the service has been cancelled because while your healing and my healing are important, there are moments when we have to do something different…

Because tonight, we’re remembering a world in desperate need of healing. We’re going to spend a night remembering and praying and weeping and hoping because all these things are God-given and good. We are given these because we need them to help us processΒ and heal.

This is Sydney. The shootings happened in Orlando. And yet, this city has stopped and grieved with a city on the other side of the world, because we share this world with one another. We share the grief, too. We share the pain and confusion.

I was thinking about it today. I was thinking about Newtown and how walking down the main street has become familiar and safe to me. I don’t identify as part of the LGBT community, but I’ve always felt like a little bit of an outsider in most places and this little suburb somehow became home to me in the last few years. There is safety here for me as someone who couldn’t find belonging in most places, and even more so for the LGBT community. I was thinking about what would happen if someone came to this suburb that I love and opened fire to harm those who have found sanctuary here, and it made my heart ache.

We all long for a place where we belong, and though my lifestyle is not theirs and though our worldviews are so different, I’m grieved that a safe place like a nightclub for the LGBT community was torn apart and turned into a reminder that nothing is safe, because I love these safe spaces of my own so very much.

Tonight, the healing service has been cancelled and instead, we’re joining together, laying aside agendas and we’re going to grieve and pray and hope because our God is the God of comfort and of hope and we have a high priest who understands. We have a God who understands the depth of despair we feel and tonight… tonight we are going to take that despair to Him in trust and in hope.

“This is love, not that we loved God… but that He loved us first.”

It’s our turn to love first. It’s our turn to show compassion. It’s our turn to join together and be the hands and feet of our God in love. It’s our turn to lift our voices in prayer and not condemnation. It’s our turn… and we must choose to be this. This is a time to choose who we are and who we will be…

(Messy words. Many feelings. My bad.)

 

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