United Church of Christ

Emmanuel

Emmanuel.

I love that word.

It’s my daughter’s middle name.

I like everything that name suggests: God with us.

In the pain of loss and grief that follows the death of a loved one, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the times of depression and despair, when even waking up seems unbearable and the thought of putting one more foot in front of another makes little sense, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the days of exasperating political chaos and madness, when after decades of hard work bending the arc of history toward justice new powers emerge and undo all that love made possible, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the birthing joy of new parents and grandparents, when hope arrives in swaddling clothes, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the long hours in waiting rooms and hospital gowns, the anxiety ollowing diagnoses and prognoses, and the enduring days of chemo and radiation and swallowing pill after pill, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the drudgery of living our sometime lives of quiet desperation, days of toil and labor and repetition, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the nights of restless sleep and worry, the stress-filled tossing from one side of the pillow to the other as every flaw anyone took the time to name gets replayed in our imaginations, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the news reports that speak of murder and mayhem, war and wickedness, machinations and manipulations, fire and famine, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the caravans of immigrants swarming the globe in search of peace, of food, of jobs, of hope, of home, of stability, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the wildfires consuming everything in their path, the hurricanes with indiscriminate destruction, the floods and famines, droughts and depressions, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the unarmed black bodies bleeding out their last breath because of a bullet from a law officer who misread the situation, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the insanity of one mass shooting after another, when body counts exceed our collective capacity to grieve, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the collective anguish of the victims of sexual trauma whose bodies have been violated and subjected to the salacious desires of brutes, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

In the bitterness of sorrow, the anguish of remorse, the expectancy of hope, the desire for peace, and the embrace of warm love, there is Emmanuel – God with us.

May it please our God to be with you, no matter what comes your way on this, your journey Into the Mystic.