Every year thousands of people die due to gun violence in the United States. While few of these deaths make headlines, each represents a life mourned by others, a life of unmet possibilities, a life of a beloved child of God. As a community of faith, it is right that we should gather to remember the sacredness of those lives and to reflect on the loss they mean to us all. The downtown Sylva churches invite you to join us on Thursday, April 4 at 12:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Sylva for a brief service of lament, prayer, and hope.
Psalm 130 begins in the depths and ends with redemption. This movement -- from lament to hope, sin to forgiveness, suffering to redemption -- is at the heart of the Gospel. How do see this in your life? What do you hope for in the Lord?
For added meaning to today's sermon, check out these resources:
- Philip Yancey, God Behind Barbed Wire: How a Nazi-soldier-turned-theologian found hope
- Jürgen Moltmann, Theology of Hope
- Hope in The Shawshank Redemption (spoiler alert!)
- When in doubt, read a poem...
Christina Rossetti, De Profundis (“Out of the Depths”)
Oh why is heaven built so far,
Oh why is earth set so remote?
I cannot reach the nearest star
That hangs afloat.
I would not care to reach the moon,
One round monotonous of change;
Yet even she repeats her tune
Beyond my range.
I never watch the scatter'd fire
Of stars, or sun's far-trailing train,
But all my heart is one desire,
And all in vain:
For I am bound with fleshly bands,
Joy, beauty, lie beyond my scope;
I strain my heart, I stretch my hands,
And catch at hope.
John Donne, Hymn to God, my God, in My Sickness
Since I am coming to that holy room,
Where, with thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made thy music; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before.
Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die,
I joy, that in these straits I see my west;
For, though their currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me? As west and east
In all flat maps (and I am one) are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.
Is the Pacific Sea my home? Or are
The eastern riches? Is Jerusalem?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar,
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them,
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.
We think that Paradise and Calvary,
Christ's cross, and Adam's tree, stood in one place;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.
So, in his purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord;
By these his thorns, give me his other crown;
And as to others' souls I preach'd thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
"Therefore that he may raise, the Lord throws down."
Emily Dickinson, Hope is the Thing With Feathers
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.