The title comes not from my own words, but from the pen of David J. Lose in Feasting on the Word. They are good words for the season of Lent that began with ashes on our foreheads last Weds and yesterday’s 1st Sunday in Lent worship. Lent is a time to be intentional about our faith — a time to go deeper and draw closer to God. My intention is to write each Monday during Lent. The sermon that corresponds to my blog can be found each week at http://www.discipleschristian.org.
That is the plan. However, on this Monday afternoon there is more pressing news than yesterday’s sermon. This morning that should have started off as any other February work and school day in Cleveland instead began with gunshots in a high school in Chardon — a town about 30 miles east. As I write, one student has died, four others are in local hospitals receiving treatment, all other CHS students are home with their families, and the suspected gunman is in police custody. The gunman is believed to be a student at the high school.
One school shooting is too many, and there have been several since Columbine in 1999. This one is close to home. And close to my heart. One of our high school youth is a student at CHS. She is home and safe with her family. thank God. Her younger sister is in Pastor’s Class this year. Pastor’s Class meets for the first time this afternoon. For the first time, we invited our Pastor’s Class alumni to join us in this get-acquainted session. The timing was unintentional of course — who knew how badly the day would begin. That said, it will be good to be all together in this place where we are loved, with people we love and who love us back — a place where we can freely share our feelings with each other and offer them to God.
It was just yesterday when we worked our way through the story of redemption that is Noah’s Ark. As the rains stopped and the clouds parted, God looked at the rainbow in the sky as a reminder of his love for humankind and his promise of never again. God had a change of heart. I suggested to the congregation in my sermon that each of us needs a sign to remind us of our need for our own change of heart — a change in behavior,a call to live as God intends, for promises broken and promises yet to be made.
There are not often rainbows in Cleveland this time of year, so perhaps we need to choose a different sign. I have decided that a reminder sign for me can be found in the faces of our Young Disciples. Children and teens too young and precious to be touched by the horrors of violence, and yet the world has not sheltered them from it. Seeing their faces this afternoon will be the reminder I need to keep my promises to love and serve the God who promises a sun bright enough to dry up the mud and an absolute refusal to give up on humankind.
I’m finished writing for today — I need to get walking.