Good Friday afternoon High Places,
Today we lift up the families of those killed in New Zealand by those whose anger and hate has consumed them. As hate crimes and mass killings continue to rise, fueled by fear-mongering and polarization in our media-saturated culture, it can be hard to know what to do. Some say offering "thoughts and prayers" isn't enough and there's been a movement of criticism in some circles about it. Recently, Chris Pratt (Jurassic World) caught a ton of backlash for publicly offering to pray.
We need not concern ourselves too much with that. We do know that prayer works -- first on our own hearts -- and then in the lives of others as we become the change we hope to see in the world. Let's not let the world deceive us into believing otherwise. We can and should be praying right now.
At the same time, if you are able, please draw comfort in knowing that here locally, many tangible connections and real life opportunities are being worked with spiritual intentionality by our community's local pastors... and in ways that extend beyond the most recent, "Not in Town" letter signed by a dozen or more of us.
Your support of High Places is one of thoughts and prayers for certain, but that support also goes much further in ways that I doubt many are aware. Our staff work to build bridges across divides and share the good news of God's love and grace in those places, and in this network of clergy we are moving into the front lines of support for victimized populations, like our Jewish and Muslim friends.
I am mostly penning this note today just in case you are feeling like I am, despairing that perhaps our differences can't be bridged and that the ship is sinking. It isn't. In this world, we will have trouble (the guarantee Jesus gives), but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world (the hope we have in Him). I want to encourage us to by all means offer up those thoughts and prayers. And when and where we are able, let's do more than that too... let's share the love we know, and the light we've been given, in places that have grown dark.
News and Notes
Tomorrow night at 7:00 PM we are hosting a comedy show at the Grove. This one looks to be a pretty big deal although I don't know the headliner. I do know that talent coming in and out of our place has made the Tonight Show. If you're looking for a good night out and a chance to support, and a place where hopefully laughter can rule the day, look no further than our own front doors tomorrow. I am sure the organizers will appreciate the support too!
Friday, March 29 I am looking for volunteers to help with the United Way fundraiser, "The Outpour." I will need 2-3 for children's assistance and 2-3 in concessions. If you're willing to lend a hand for a great, local cause (about 90% of every dollar raised by Anderson County United Way stays local), please let me know via email or text.
Saturday, March 20, will be an "Interactive Concert for Life" which serves to raise money and awareness for mental health issues surrounding foster care parents and children. It's sure to be an interesting show, full of talent, and all for a good cause. Once again, this organization is a local start-up specifically focused on foster parenting and mental health.
Our adult retreat to Dandridge is upcoming on Passover weekend, April 12-14, there is still some room in the lodge so if you've been on the fence about coming, please let me know as soon as you can!
I hope everyone is enjoying their spring break and this turn toward warmer, dryer air.
Good Friday afternoon High Places,