Easter Day dawned bright and clear, sunny but cool. The church parking lot was already full when I arrived but I found a pretty good spot. The flowers by the altar were so lovely - white lilies - and the feminine members filing in looked so pretty in their spring colors. When the organist began to play the processional hymn and everyone started singing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" the Hallelujah chorus never sounded as good. The homily, while encouraging to those who don't usually make attendance a regular event, made the rest of us think as well. We all laughed about the myriad reasons we often come up with for not attending services weekly: "Way too tired, It's my only day off, Weather's too cold or It's raining, I have something else to do, I'm sleeping in, Have nothing to wear, Just don't feel like it" were a few of the most commonly expressed excuses. We've all been tempted and even have given in to the temptation to skip a service now and again.
Does it even occur to us what would happen if God decided to skip a day looking out for His Creation? Sometimes I wonder if we truly believe there is a loving God always aware of our needs. I wonder if we don't treat each other with apathy and unconcern because we really do believe that God is unconcerned for us. There was a time in my early nursing career during which I was caring for a woman with cancer. I heard a preacher on her roommate's TV asking for donations. At the time, I thought I'd get a positive response as I said aloud, "If there was a loving God, there wouldn't be so much sickness in the world." The woman responded immediately, saying, "God has nothing to do with my cancer. It's because of our own free will that sickness and death is in the world. I don't blame God for my illness." Of course, I apologized to her, but, more importantly, realized how off-base my thinking was. When I hear people say, "There's no God watching out for us; children starving and people suffering and homeless all over the world proves it." I think about that little conversation. I also think about the non-believers I come in contact with on social media outlets and wonder if I am being a decent witness to the power of the Spirit of God. Those three sentences spoken by the woman dying of cancer was a strong witness to me. I hope my words might be as helpful to someone who needs to hear them, as much as I did that particular day.
May the rest of 2014 be a blessing to us all.