Reflection on Orlando
This week like so many of us, I have been grappling with the events of early Sunday morning. Unfortunately I did not know the magnitude of the shooting until I was in my car driving home from church. All at once I was sad, mad and stunned. Stunned that a person could and would perpetrate such wickedness on innocent people. People who like many of us were enjoying an evening out with friends and family. Who among us cannot help but pause and reflect that it could happen to anyone at anytime-no one is safe.
I remember feeling this way after Sandy Hook. As a parent, it was one of the fears I kept in the back of my mind and I prayed it would never touch our community. We were fortunate that it did not but, for countless others, it has and will continue I am sorry to say. What I do try to remember in times such as these is this quote from Mr. Rogers, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” His words remind me of the people of Orlando who stood in line to donate blood; the churches who handed out water and prayed with family members as they waited for word of loved ones; people carrying victims to safety our brave police officers, firefighters and EMT's and countless others who have donated over $4 million dollars to the victims.
In times like these when everything seems so dark and it would appear that evil is winning the day. I remember Mr. Rogers' words and I receive immeasurable comfort that our world and it's citizens are still a good place. We cannot lose hope that evil will triumph, we only need to remember all of the helpers-God bless them all.
We have all come back to earth after a wonderful celebration last weekend. For those who may have stumbled upon this blog and are not aware of what happened last weekend. The port of Bath celebrated 300 years as the state's first port. A great time was had by all and the best part of the day was watching Marty Fulton receive a proclamation from the town for outstanding service and The Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Governor McCory. A well-deserved honor Marty.
Several people have asked for a copy of the prayer I wrote which opened the festivities that evening I have copied it below
We thank you for this gathering today as we remember our past, live in the present and look to the future. We thank you for the brave men and women who came and settled the Port of Bath three hundred years ago. We are grateful for their perseverance and strength; coming to a land that was wild and untamed. Out of this wilderness they brought hope, determination and the indomitable spirit that has so shaped this great country of ours. We pray for all leaders of our town, our state and our country. We also today remember our brave men and women who serve our country so we can celebrate our freedom in this place.It is also fitting Lord, to remind ourselves this Memorial weekend, of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
Today Lord, we continue to be grateful for all the blessings and gifts you have bestowed on us here in the state of North Carolina and in this town. Each of us has found our way here Lord, because we hold the same values and ideals of those settlers long ago. Like them we share a love of community and fellowship. We like they, work toward the common goal which is to remain a beacon of love for one another in a town that truly understands the auspicious charge we have been given. Which is to share it with all we meet be it in our town, our churches, or those who are passing through.
Lastly as we look to the future, we pray for your continued guidance as we we continue carry on the spirit of dreaming and we continue to look for and follow your will for us, for this town today and for future generations. May they too know and love this town as much as we do. As always Father, we pray in your name and in the name of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ who with the Holy Spirit brings your love and peace to this earth. Amen.
We celebrate our Mother's this coming Sunday and all that they have done for us over the course of our lives. As I get older and hopefully wiser, I have reflected on all the people in my life who have mothered me. What I have learned about myself and sharing my thoughts with others is we all mother one another in one way or another. We may have friends, relatives, colleagues or church members who at one time or another over the course of our lives have stepped in to be a nurturing presence.
I prefer not to think of Mother's Day as only a day to celebrate women because there are many men who have had to take on the role of both mother and father when raising a family. This is not only in the case of death or divorce but can be for military service, extended business trips or illness. We are so fortunate to have made compassion and love something we can all participate in.
Perhaps in your own life you have had a friend who has been the one who has cheered you on from the sidelines. The one who did not doubt when you doubted yourself. In my own life I have been fortunate to have had many of those friends and I am eternally grateful for them.
Theologically I began to think about the Holy Spirit as a mother image. She is the little piece of God which enters our hearts and souls and like mothers everywhere, she nags us sometimes to get up and act. Jesus is filled with the Holy Spirit at his baptism and is then able to the work God has set out for him to do in this world. Jesus also tells the disciples in John 14:26, "The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." Just like "moms" everywhere. Happy Mother's Day