Dear Dyersburg FUMC Family, 

Last Sunday, I preached from the story of Thomas and his encounter with the risen Jesus after he had appeared to the disciples. The story is strange but contains a powerful message for all of us. During the sermon, you might have heard me mention the name of Søren Kierkegaard, a Christian theologian and philosopher. In the sermon I mentioned a quote from him, Kierkegaard says “Faith sees best in the dark.”

On paper, this sentence doesn't quite make sense. How can we see in the dark? Kierkegaard writes this in a discourse of his own suffering. 

In this world we are surrounded by suffering. People die for no reason at all. People suffer. Children starve. Holocausts, pandemics, and genocide happens. Often, we try to explain it away, or give platitudes in order to banish the hurt that penetrates our lives and shatters our beliefs. Especially often, we do this when we encounter the suffering of others, because it's hard to give words of comfort when silence seems to scream loud. 

In days like the time we are in now, I keep returning to this quote of Kierkegaard because there is some truth to it that can speak to us now. Darkness can overwhelm us, surround us, and dominate our thoughts. But our faith comes from God and something we hold within. In the face of these dark moments, our faith often gains new meaning or perspectives. As we move through whatever we face, the tragedy or the pain doesn't tend to dissipate but we are often able to see it differently or engage with the aftermath better because of our faith. 

This week we will tell the story of the disciples on the road to Emmaus when they encounter Jesus. They don't quite recognize him head on but when they do, it transforms them. Even in the darkness of the tragedy of Jesus’s death, we get to encounter the coming Resurrection. And so that's why I say that as we move through the new normal we face, I encourage you to find the spaces where hope and newness of life appear in your life. The ordinary can become sacred. The prayers we pray can become more important and the time we get with our loved ones can be something we pay more attention to. Even though we might feel alone, we are never truly alone. Might our vision become clearer, and our priorities changed towards what really is important. 

I pray that God’s love finds you these days, and know that I look forward with hope for the day when we are physically together. 

God’s Peace, Will