It is hard to be filled with love for the other
when loss and fear suffocates us and them.
And how can there be grace
when hate buries love?
And yet, you call us to rejoice.
And so, we remember
that no matter how dark the present hour, you are with us.
Your mighty arm protects us, your spirit fills us.
You will never forget or forsake us.
This we know: even in the absence of all other hope or love, you are with us. Emmanuel.
And so, rejoice we shall,
no matter what rages around or against or within us.
Our souls shall magnify you O Lord,
for you are with us,
even when all else that we trust is gone.
Lord, we gather here
so that the fire you have planted in each of us
will strengthen and grow:
becoming a mighty flame that brings hope
where there is none, encouraging love to grow
where it has too long been gone,
and extinguishing fear in the hearts of all.
We rejoice in each other.
We rejoice in our faith.
And, we rejoice in your presence
here this morning.
In all things we shall rejoice, Amen.