UCC Beliefs: Searching for God
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on your name.
My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast, and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth;
they shall be given over to the power of the sword, they shall be prey for jackals.
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped. ~ Psalm 63
Please God, let them be safe today. I don’t even know if God has anything to do with keeping guns and criminals out of schools. I’m can get so worried for the safety of my children, I’m willing to ask. It’s what we do when we no longer feel safe. We hear the cry to God:
O God, you are my God, I seek you, my flesh faints for you.
The difficult things in life are hard to endure. They can press on the chest like an asthma attack and you can’t find space to breathe. In the midst of them it can feel like you are running through a rain-parched, dusty land, kicking up dust as you look for an oasis of plenty.
For sure, events like the killings in Orlando shake us out of our oasis of plenty – those places where we try to hide and ignore the thirsty cries of the desiccated world around us. Like I said, I get it. I want to hide, too. The issues we know of seem so vast at times, so complicated, so impossible to solve, no matter how many of us seem willing to confront society’s problems. We encounter systems that we don’t know how to change. We think of issues like domestic abuse, mental health issues, and gun violence. We think of political finance reform and pay-day lending. We think of the pernicious racism, classism, and anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation that still divides our country and is endorsed by leaders from ministers to political candidates. And we don’t know. We don’t know what to do or how to fix it. Are we going to learn to embrace our differences and passions to stare down those evils in our community that make us squirm, run away, or cause fear? Can we learn to hold onto the tension and anxiety of encountering these things together. Can we pray together? Can we act as one?
Oh say, poet, what you do?
But what about the deadly and monstrous?
How do you keep going, how do you take it all in?
After an event like the violence in Orlando, that's what we have to offer at CCC. We create sacred space where everyone belongs, where all are welcome, where we honor and celebrate people of all races, cultures, ages, abilities, sexual orientations, and gender identities. We offer sacred space where anyone can attend -- with our pains and joys, with our fears and hopes, with our experiences of rejection and our longings for wholeness -- and know that we are embraced by empathy and understanding.
In 1948, The General Assembly of the World Council of Churches developed the idea of “responsible society” as the ultimate goal of Christian action. The assembly wrote:
A responsible society is one where freedom is the freedom of [persons] to acknowledge responsibilities to justice and public order and where those who hold political authority as economic power are responsible for its exercise to God and the people whose welfare is affected by it … For a society to be responsible under modern conditions, it is required that the people have freedom to control, to criticize, and to change their governments, that power be made responsible by law and tradition, and be distributed as widely as possible through the whole community.