Greetings all, here is your e-votional for the week…

“‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’”-Matthew 11: 28-29

It has been a hard week.  Just seven days ago terrorists struck the heart of Western civilization with their attacks in Paris.  Since then our hearts have been overwhelmed with words of anger, fear and vengeance.  Even today we have not been free from the forces of terror as an attack in Mali left 21 people dead.  It feels like a dark time and many of us carry the burden of this darkness daily in our hearts.  Outward fears tend to amplify the preexisting burdens which we repress in our hearts, and so when events like those of the past week occur, they give rise to the latent fears and anxieties we all carry, and we find ourselves vulnerable to the darkness of this world.

There is a quote from Frederick Buechner which has been with me much of the week, and which will be my sermon title on the 29th, and it goes like this…

“This is the world.  It is beautiful and terrible.  Do not be afraid.”

These three simple sentences have so much truth.  The world is a beautiful and terrible place, often at the same time.  But we must understand that when the darkness begins to envelop us it often does so at the expense of our ability to perceive the beautiful; we are deafened to the sounds of children laughing, blinded to the majesty of creation, insensitive to the breath of the Holy Spirit.  The truth of the matter is this; God loves you and God loves this world.  Nothing changes that truth.  Nothing.  Hard days do not.  Terror does not.  Illness does not.  Sorrow does not.  Nothing.  Darkness’ only power is to blind us to the light.  On this day remember that Christ stands ready to carry our burdens.  Darkness will tell you that he cannot help you.  It is a lie.  Do not believe it.  God is present in this world; in your life; even in the darkness.  As the psalmist said, “If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.” ‘

Do not be afraid.  God is with you.  Say a prayer a lift your head.

Prayer:  Holy God, we pray for the people of this world trapped in violence.  Please bring peace to your world and healing to its most broken places.  We pray today for all lands where violence is present and fear seems to reign.  We pray for your powerful Spirit to enter those lands and bring peace and safety to their people, just as you have brought it to us this day.  It is in Jesus’ name that we pray, Amen.