A Prayer for Resiliency // M-Note 10.16.2020

Gathering,
 
This morning, I went to Laclede Elementary School where I prayed with teachers, administrators, and staff. As one of our partner schools, they are preparing to receive students on Monday. But, we were there for a more tragic reason, as well. Last week, Doryan Bryant, a smart, resourceful, and gifted student in our literacy project, was shot and killed along with her mother. Her death impacted all of the teachers, staff, and the principal because her light was missed by so many in that place. As we stood in the hallway this morning and circled up for prayer, I spoke briefly about Doryan. I asked if there were other prayers that people wanted me to lift up, and the requests came pouring out. Children, the neighborhood, families, physical illness, grief and death, emotional fatigue, safety and protection, wise discernment and spiritual weariness. There was a lot in that room. And so we prayed.
 
It was a long prayer of mourning, of crying out, and of confessing our need for God. But, the second half of the prayer was about hope, a tangible call for God’s power and a celebration of God’s presence and might. It was not a quiet prayer. We were all speaking out, sometimes with intelligent words and sometimes with a “sigh too deep for words”. As we ended, the staff and teachers thanked me. They were smiling, they were empowered, and they were ready. I left in awe of the incredible resilience of these men and women who day in and day out serve families and kids in an incredibly challenging environment. Under-resourced and over-burdened, this school does what it does with energy, enthusiasm, and excellence. But, it takes resiliency.
 
Life requires resilience. What is that? Literally, resilience is the capacity for an object to spring back into its original shape after being impacted. This is where we get the phrase – bounce back. For us, resilience is defined as the ability to recover and keep moving through times of difficulty, or more simply “toughness”.  And life requires resilience, especially right now when we are all working through our own set of tough circumstances.
 
As a church, we want to help you do this. That is why I am really looking forward to next week when we will start our Resilience Speaker Series. Each night covers a different topic with a local expert leading us through conversation. Topics will include anxiety & depression, singleness & self-care, marriage and relationships, parenting, and families on the frontline. The talks will take place virtually and have further opportunities to connect with others in the church to continue the conversation. You can attend one or all of them. I think we all could use some strength in our lives right now, so I hope you will pick one and participate. Most of all, we all know people in our life that are wrestling with one or more of these topics. Invite them to check it out and join us. You can find out more and register on our website or on The Gathering app under the events tab.
 
I hope you will keep Doryan and our Laclede School family in your prayers. While you’re at it, pray for one another – that God might continue to sustain resilience in all of us that are facing difficult times.
 
Peace,
 
Matt
 
P.S. Don’t forget THIS WEEKEND we have guest preacher The Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson. As a pastor, philanthropist, and co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, Rev. Wilson is a leading voice in conversations about justice and an activist for the on-going struggle for racial justice. He has just been named the new President and CEO of the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington D.C. He is also a husband and father of 4 who is passionate about Jesus and the work Christians are called to do in the community. It is going to be an incredible message. Share the word with others, as I know this is a worship service that will speak to so many of us and to the divisions we see in our world.  

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