It seems as if now, as much as ever, we could use reminders of God's faithfulness, compassion, and care. Our world is fraught with brutal responses to uprisings across the Middle East and North and West Africa. One natural disaster follows another. Countless lives are lost and others ruined. It is fitting to ask ourselves how God’s light will shine in this darkness. Who will bring comfort when all seems lost? During this season of Pentecost, we turn to God the comforter, who rescues us from our distress, from our own wretchedness, and from the wickedness that prevails in a broken world.
We turn to a God who gives life and nurtures growth in abundance. God's provision and care come with gracious and merciful generosity. Yes, suffering is par for the course in this life, but those who choose to follow the path of life will be called to new growth and also to new deaths along the way. To live by the Spirit requires death to the things that do not lead to life.
The scripture passages this month point to a God who calls us to new life, who keeps God's promises to be with us, whose love is steadfast, whose presence is rampant, who enters intimately into our midst in ways that can only baffle, surprise, and humble us. This God brings us to our knees in prayer, praise, and hopeful expectation.
Enuma Okoro, of Durham, North Carolina, is the author of Reluctant Pilgrim and co-author of Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.
Cries and prayers are surely still rising from Libya, Ivory Coast, and Japan. People have lost their homes, loved ones, and livelihoods. The raging political storms that follow a natural disaster leave more pain and sorrow in their wake. Even as relief efforts continue, where can people turn for comfort in the midst of such suffering?