Sunday morning, we wrapped up our “The State of Things; Past, Present, & Future” worship series as we examined our adventurous future. The future is a place for hope because it is not written into the history books yet. Anything can happen. I believe that good things are waiting to happen. But as this week has reminded us, there will be dark chapters too. This week, a close friend of two of our members passed away, leaving behind her husband, three young children, and countless friends. We’ve been praying for Michelle, and now she is at rest. And then our community was shook to its core with the disappearance of a young girl who, thankfully, was found safe. But for over 24 hours, this community held its breath and prayed.
But even in the midst of the darkness, there were glimpses of the kingdom of God to be found. I’ve seen the community rally around the family of Michelle Enterline. I’ve seen the tributes and heard some of the plans to support the family in this devastating time. I’m reminded that we are called by God to bear one another’s burdens. And while nothing can ever take the place of a beloved wife and mother, I know God is there in the midst. Seeing the response of her friends and family, in our church, in our sister church, Wildwood UMC, and the day school community there, despite the pain, if we look closely, we just might catch sight of the kingdom of God in how people have cared for one another, especially for Michelle’s family.
And Wednesday night, despite the soggy weather, hundreds of people, regardless of church background, despite denominational differences, we gathered together to surround the family and pray together in a vigil at the Indigo Lakes Community Center. There were Baptists, Methodists, & Catholics. There were folks from the Cowboy Church, and from Pentecostal churches. And I imagine there were people with no church but who came out to gather together in prayer and to help because that’s what people do when a child is missing. There were people from Magnolia, and Tomball, and the Woodlands, and from Conroe. In that space, despite the fear and dread, despite the desperation, God was there and the coming kingdom could be seen. We worshipped together, and prayed together. For those brief moments, our community was united. And we give thanks for Ryder’s safe return, but let us continue to pray for her and her family while also respecting their need to process this. Something like this is not resolved quickly.
Finally, as a people who claim the name of Christ, let us remember that we are called to agents of Christ, through whom God’s presence can be felt. I invite us to pray together in the days to come The Prayer of St. Francis; Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. And it's in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
May it ever be so. See you Sunday (unless the baby arrives first.)