This summer we were blessed by having Jack Kennedy lead us in a couple of Sunday forums on prayer.
For me, the Jack Kennedy experience showed us that we're all in this together. When one hurts, we all hurt. Life is hard, so how do we connect with God? God is in our experience. God is saying, "I'm with you. It's messy, but I'm here."
Because of our pain, God also hurts. When someone is suffering, God is there in the center of that person. It is as if God is the fire of change, the fire of transformation. Those in pain are being changed.
Words would jump out at us, such as: cancer, suffering, prayer, God, help. What can we do to help? We are flooded with questions. Where is God in all of this? What is our image of God? How do we pray? How do we best help and pray for each other.
Jack talked about God being "in" our experience, not "out" there. God is with us in this "messy" experience. Then, how do we remain present in such a world of pain? How do we pray?
During our first session, he played quiet music and said that he wanted us to hold Pastor Laurie in our hearts. We were to try to imagine just how it would be to simply hold her. After a few minutes he had us share with someone else in the room what our feelings were now, and what this exercise was like for each of us. It was the Spirit in our midst -- where God might be in all of this.
The image for our combined experience was that we are all in a circle. Jesus is in the center of our circle, and helps each of us as needed. Our compassionate loving God is with us in our and Laurie's struggles.
While I think about and pray for many in our community, I am reminded often of how I miss seeing our Pastor Laurie during her healing process. Laurie, thanks for being in our circle.