July 13, 2020

I like to refer in prayer to our God who is closer to us than our next breath. I have no idea where I first heard that idea, but a Google search attributes it to Alfred Lord Tennyson. He wrote, “Speak to him, thou, for He heareth and spirit with spirit can meet. Closer is He than breathing. And nearer than hands and feet.”

Last Sunday, July 5, our congregation, in socially-distanced and face-masked safety, in the sanctuary that only God could have created along the bank of Stony Creek, witnessed the baptism and confirmation of three of our rising high school freshmen, as they along with my spouse become members of St. Paul’s UCC congregation. The video of this amazing, hopeful, life-giving and life affirming service was used as our sermon on Sunday, July 12.

And this Sunday morning, I had the sacred privilege to meet with the family of Bubba Kennedy who died suddenly of a massive heart attack on Saturday afternoon.

We live with the reality of life and death day in and day out; for the most part mercifully oblivious to how quickly death can strike. Even in this time of CODIV19, with over 135,000 deaths, the death of someone we know, a beloved spouse, parent, child, friend, child of God still hits like an unexpected blow, a shock.

And when death comes on the heels of other recent losses, I want to raise my fist toward heaven and cry for those grieving, and for myself, “Enough is enough.” Jesus said something similar as he was dying, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” The God who made us, and knows us, can hold our anger, despair, grief, our pain, our doubts.

Speak to God, for God hears us, is closer than our next breath, and holds us in love from our first breath, in our baptism, in all of our days, and in our final breath.

Closer is God than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. ~ Anne

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