April 24th, 2019

This past week has been a whirlwind. We held nine services, Sunday to Sunday, with over 450 people in attendance throughout. I genuinely believe that folks ‘got’ something from the services they attended, and I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of visitors that came through the doors during the week—not just on Easter—to be with us.

But that’s not all that happened to create said tempest. As many of you are aware, Nic and I lost our dog, Tyrone. That, in and of itself, was (and is) a life-altering moment. I hadn’t realized how much of our daily schedules revolved around that furry stinker, thus I didn’t expect the additional emptiness added to morning/evening routines…of daily life. We both appreciate you all texting, sending cards and making calls to comfort us. On the outside looking in, pets (to some) are just pets; but if you have one…they’re family, and ours just became a whole lot smaller.

The next thing that happened—on Easter Sunday—was a mini-flood in our home. Nicole and I came home from church, started the water in the yard, went to Walmart, and came back to lazy rivers in our living room and back den. “How long, O Lord, indeed.” We spent the majority of Sunday afternoon and evening shop-vac-ing (that’s not a word) out our vents and sopping up water from the floors. Fun stuff. Also, the lights began flickering in a few areas of the house due to an unrelated issue, so there was that added joy.

I don’t tell you these things for lament, there’s a point here…

I always try to see the silver lining; it’s how I’m built. In every sad or frustrating situation, I react appropriately at first (using choice words, or shedding a few tears), but shortly thereafter I’ll search for God in those moments. I won’t lie: The search isn’t immediate but it IS pretty dang close. So here’s where God found me in those moments…

We have American Home Shield at our house; it is there to ‘fix’ issues that occur when something goes awry. Although it isn’t going to ‘pay’ to fix the plumbing, it did pay to fix the electrical. They sent two sets of technicians/plumbers out in the span of two days. The first, and I won’t name him, is a young man who recently moved to OKC to head-up the work his parent company from Tulsa does in this area. He talked about being new to the area, and so I asked him about church. I invited him to ours. He’s apparently been searching for a smaller yet strong community within which to engage and become closer to God. I handed him my card and we talked about God for twenty minutes. Next came the plumber. This man noticed my guitar and we started talking about our ‘musician’ days. He has a church home, but he’s been looking for places to ‘play’ and hasn’t found any. I told him about our open mic nights and he’s excited to join us for the next one. Finally, throughout all of this, each person noticed that I was a minister and felt comfortable talking about God and their relationship to him, in general.

The point?

Through severe sadness, through catastrophe at home, through the exhaustion of Holy Week (yet still beloved), God found ways to seep in and be present with me…with the gentlemen working at our home…and with Nicole. Our issues still exist, but they seem less weighty than they did. Our hurt still exists, but having a community such as ours upon whom to rely has helped. My question to you all is this: Is God trying to seep through and be present during your difficult times? Are you listening to that call? Are you seeking to serve Christ in others by accepting the presence of God when it seems the most difficult? Again, maybe not immediately, but close, we would all do well to hear the voice of God in our tribulations. Instead of counting our miseries, perhaps naming our blessings is something that can help us through the valleys of would-be despair. You’ll never know the impact you can have on someone with a kind word, a reaffirming statement, a mention of the Holy, a short phone call and a prayer, a gentle reminder that they’re loved even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment…these are all ways in which we defeat darkness, ways in which we conquer the death that encroaches upon our souls by means of sadness, frustration, and hopelessness.

Holy Week is still upon us. Because every week can be HOLY. Remember this past week. Remember the way it made you feel, the way it affected you. Share that, and you’ll change the world around you.

And maybe shed a little light of your own.

Faithfully and lovingly yours, 

Fr. Sean+