by Rev. Kathy Bouchard
If you were in worship on Sunday morning, you may have noticed that I was taken aback when one of our children presented me with a folded piece of paper that had lovely pictures decorating it. It wasn’t the fact that he brought something to show me; it was what he revealed when he unfolded it. It was a handwritten prayer, “Dear God, Send me hope.” The letter p was written backwards so I kept looking at it, wondering if he meant, “Send me help.” or did he mean, “Send me hope.” I wanted to get it right when I read it aloud. Indeed, the message was, “Send me hope.”
With the events of the day, I had to catch my breath before proceeding. Details of the tragedy in Orlando were still being revealed as worship began, and my head was reeling with the awful reality. A few days before, a close friend had arrived to stay at my house while helping sort through a crisis in her family. Saturday evening had been an emotionally intense time as I listened to her share her feelings of hopelessness. On Sunday morning, as hopelessness was creeping into my thoughts from all directions one of our very own children held that prayer right in front of me, reminding me and everyone else in the sanctuary that when we feel hopeless, we best go to God. I paused to savor what seemed to be a “God moment” before proceeding.
A simple gesture from one of our children helped me find hope on Sunday. For the rest of the day I found hope with every turn. Linda Wassenich had an idea for the Justice Corner in the Echo, volunteers for Vacation Church School with creative ideas that will make the program even better, Gary Springer’s report on the work day to prepare for bringing clean water to the nearby neglected area of Sandbranch, news reports of communities expressing overwhelming support for the LGBTQ community as the nation processes shock and grief in the aftermath of Orlando’s tragedy, and my friend from out of state reported signs of hope after meeting with a family member. While these moments didn’t erase the incredible sadness surrounding the circumstances in Orlando and my friend’s most difficult circumstances, they did help me catch a glimmer of God’s light in the world. It felt good to reconnect with Hope.
Our Monday evening cabinet meeting brought even more hope as we heard reports from various ministry teams. On the way home, I listened to Rev. Caroline Hamilton-Arnold’s sermon and found hope in the many ways that the Disciples of Christ and Week of Compassion are beacons of God’s light in the world. Midway Hills Christian Church strives to be a channel of God’s hope in a world that often seems hopeless. Today, I invite you to join me in offering praise to God who sends us hope when we need it most and then equips us to take that hope out of the sanctuary and into the world. May the work that we do together as a community of faith serve as a beacon of God’s light this week and in all the weeks to come!