God’s Love Is Stronger

Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Senior Minister Blog

“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.” 
Henri Nouwen

As we approach Thanksgiving Day, we realize that 2021 was not all that we hoped it would be. There have been disappointments that we would rather not have dealt with but we had no choice. The pandemic did not vanish in a flash. The global pain and local challenges persisted. And yet we still find ourselves coming towards the Thanksgiving Day holiday brimming with gratitude. I find it helpful to become specific about what we are thankful for. Not just family, friends and health but what specifically has been the way in which we each glimpsed that God’s love is stronger than death, God’s light more real than all the darkness?

A few weeks ago one of our elders, Dr. Milburn Hobson brought me an album. Yes, an old fashioned record. A precursor even to “vinyls” that some of us played as teenagers. This was a recording of his mother preaching the first sermon ever preached by a woman at our church, in 1955. Our Director of Production, Dan Warneke, had it converted to a digital file so that we could listen to it. It’s a good sermon. But what I am most grateful for is that I am part of a church that recognized the voice of women to speak the good news of God long before such moves were in vogue.

I’m also thankful for the look on Jacob’s face. He is our grandson who adores trains and has autism. A large noisy room of children and grown ups is the last thing that would appeal to him so celebrating his birthday can be a challenge. And when he turned 7 recently, his parents organized a real train ride for him. He climbed aboard a 100 year old coach in Belton, MO, and rode a few miles out and back. The beam on his face spoke volumes and I was grateful for the volunteers who ran the train and for Jacob’s parents who made it happen and for Jacob’s experience of pure joy and delight.

Each Sunday, someone comes through the door who is back at church for the first time since covid halted our in person weekly gatherings. And each Sunday someone seeking a church home visits our church for the first time ever. And each Sunday I delight as I say thank you for the particular people who gather in our stunning house of worship. Your stories, your resilience, your deep devotion to God continue to surprise me with the reality that God’s love is stronger than death.

With abundant gratitude to you and to God,

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