My husband and I went to church yesterday.
Nothing out of the ordinary about that. We got there a bit late and most everyone had gone in to find a place to sit, but there was still a greeter at the door and a few people were removing their coats and chatting with friends before heading inside, where happy music was calling us to join the others. I scurried through the doorway and warmly hugged a dear friend before taking a seat beside her. I didn’t hug her husband, who is not the hugging kind, but he and my husband affectionately reached over both of us to grin and shake hands.
Throughout the course of the service, the congregation – led by a talented and inspiring worship team – sang some lovely, moving songs. As usual, my husband sang with great gusto; I and my friend were a little more subdued as most of the songs were unfamiliar to us and we were just learning the way of them.
Near the beginning of the service, our pastor gave us an update on the various community works that our little congregation is involved in. He also invited us to pray for some church friends who are going through some tough times regarding their health. Finally, he invited us to pray for the folks attending a couple of mosques halfway across the world that were visited by terrible tragedy this past week (you might have heard about that; it made the international news).
As our pastor preached a message of peace, love, acceptance and tolerance, a little wooden plaque – just to his left – on which is inscribed a biblical message of love, began to softly glow. At first, I thought the light must be from a well-placed lightbulb, and then I realised that a stray winter-watery sunbeam had found its way in through a nearby window, to softly accompany our pastor’s message of hope. I sat there and I marvelled at the peace I felt: how warm and inviting that place always is. How many wonderful friends we have found within its walls.
How safe I always feel there.
And I wanted to weep for all those who have gone to their churches, or their mosques, or their synagogues, or their temples or their ashrams; expecting to find that same feeling of peace.
And found instead fear, hatred, violence and unthinkable loss…
Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com