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Pastor’s Pen July 20, 2016

“If two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” Matthew 18:19

         When people find at that you’re a local church pastor, one of two things happens. They either move to the other side of the room to avoid you, because they imagine you know every rotten thing they’ve ever done, or they lean in. This is their big moment. Almost everyone has a big question they want answered, and they think I might know. Often as not I have the same questions, and I don’t know the answer, but I do know the One who can reveal it to us.

         They want to know why people suffer, and what makes some prayers answered with a shout and why other times God seems so silent. People ask me how often they have to forgive someone, and if it’s ever o.k. to just walk away from a relationship. People wonder about the meaning and purpose of life, and what happens after they die and whether or not they will ever see their loved ones again.

         Sometimes people ask me what they can do about being so lonely. I want to raise my hand wildly like a third-grader. “Teacher, teacher, I know the answer, I’ve got this one.” Being a Christian doesn’t inoculate us from the vulnerabilities of sickness and death. That’s part of our human condition. Being a Christian doesn’t prevent suffering in the world or make us immune from the struggles of forgiveness when someone we love has disappointed or betrayed us. But being a Christian does ensure a lifetime guarantee that whatever we face as human creatures, we never have to face it alone.

         God made us whole and perfect and beautiful as we are, and gave us one another the gift of community. We are never alone unless we choose to be. Not only has God given us other beautiful companions to share our journey along the way, but God is also with us in Christ. “Lo I am with you, even to the end of time,” Jesus said. “I will not leave you abandoned, as orphans,” Jesus said. “I will send to you the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.”

         There is no circumstance in life or death, no situation so joyful or dire, but that God invites us to gather with another, and together ask God for whatever we need to see us through. “Ask anything you want, anything at all”, and Jesus said, “It will be done for you.”

Prayer: God be with us and by us and among us. Companion us in this summer season, for you know what is set before us this day. Thank you for keeping us company in all things. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland