Worship Archive – October 26, 2014

Trinity United Church – Bowmanville | Worship Service Archive

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2014 | 179th Anniversary Worship Service

Fear Tears Down, But Love Lifts Up

“From where can we draw comfort and peace and hope in the face of distressing, life-altering events?”

In October 2014, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo, members of our Canadian Forces, were killed on their home soil. Last year’s 179th Anniversary Worship Service followed these tragic events. Here is an audio and text excerpt from Reverend Jennifer Broomhead’s reflection from that service:

Audio Excerpt | Fear Tears Down, But Love Lifts Up

It has been a shocking and horrible week here in Canada.

We witnessed two senseless acts of violence that left Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo dead, several others wounded, physically and emotionally, and sent our whole nation reeling.

So how do we, as people of faith, process these horrific events?

Where do we see God in all this?

From where can we draw comfort and peace and hope in the face of distressing, life-altering events?

In 1981 Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a very famous, very good, book called, When Bad Things Happen to Good People.

30 years later, after September 11, 2001, Kushner says he was often asked, “Where was God? How could God let such a thing happen?”

The answer he found himself giving again and again was, “God’s promise was never that life would be fair. God’s promise was, when it’s your turn to confront the unfairness of life, no matter how hard it is, you’ll be able to handle it, because God will be on your side. God will give you the strength you need to find your way through.”

You guys know that as a parent, I really like Fred Rogers, Mr. Rogers, Presbyterian minister, and he once said that when he was a boy and he would see scary things on the news, his mother would say to him, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

Such simple, comforting, and wise words. In the aftermath of scary news, look for the love. And then be the love.

Fear tears down, but love lifts up.

We Christians are a resurrection people.

When faced with dark times, we need to shine our lights even brighter.

So after spending much of Wednesday watching the events in Ottawa unfold, I went to bed that night feeling emotionally overwhelmed and spiritually exhausted.

Then I woke up on Thursday morning still feeling sad, but my outlook was a little brighter, partly, I think, because I took the words of Thomas Mulcair to heart.

In his television address on Wednesday evening, he said: “We woke up this morning in a country blessed by love, diversity and peace, and tomorrow we will do the same. These acts were driven by hatred, but also designed to drive us to hate. They will not.”

I admit to you that I’m still struggling with processing all of this stuff.

I don’t want to hide that from you – I don’t have all of the answers, and I don’t always know what to say.

But I am blessed to be able to talk about these questions with you.

We are blessed to be part of this church, this spiritual community, with whom we can go deeper when confronted with the everyday and the extraordinary challenges of the life of faith.

179 years of stories as we honour the past, present, and future of our church.

Stories are agents of the divine, reminding us in some mysterious way that every single one of us has a significant place in God’s great unfolding story.

Moses shows us that we are the saints of our own time, leaving a legacy of time, talent, and treasure.

Jesus reminds us that we love each other (even when we don’t always like each other) because God loves us, and because God asks us, in response to that love, to love God and to love our neighbours as we love ourselves.

This love is meant to underlie and inform everything we say and do, as individuals, and as a church.

All of us are creating the future by our actions today.

May our legacy be celebrated as a legacy of love.

Thanks be to God. Amen.

Fear tears down. Love lifts up. Everyone is welcome at the United Church of Canada.