As I sit here at the church, preparing for my first Sunday back after a couple of weeks away, the building is full of people making preparations. Downstairs in Haberland Hall volunteers from our new Narcotics Anonymous group are setting up for a dance tonight. Upstairs, teachers and board members from Voice of the City are setting up for their annual gala, which is being held here at the church tomorrow afternoon. Both organizations create contexts, safe places, for people from all walks of life to grow safely into themselves. Working in partnership with these organizations, St. Luke’s provides a sheltering presence in a world that is sometimes dangerous and destructive.
The readings for the next three Sundays form a sort of unexpected trilogy. This weekend we hear Jesus speaking on the night before his death, assuring his followers that God will not leave them orphaned (John 14:15-21). Next week we break with the regular cycle of readings to observe Rachel’s Day, a day of commemoration for the loss of children’s lives in our community, which draws its name from Jeremiah 31:15-17. Finally, May 11th we will celebrate both Mother’s Day and Pentecost – God’s burning, mothering love washing over the world to claim people of every place and race as children of God (Acts 2:1-21).
The Easter news which burned in our hearts on the road to Emmaus is too hot to keep to ourselves. It comes to life in words of compassion as bright as tongues of flame, and it warms us as we gather together around bread and cup. It uses us to advocate for those without voices, to call home children of every age lost to the streets, and to proclaim our common heritage. We are children of one God – mother of us all.