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Beloved Christ the King Community, we have arrived at Principle #3 of our CTK Summer Road Trip: "God Feels our Pain and Suffering."

The photo that accompanies this blog was taken on my recent trip to Germany upon visiting Maulbronn Monastery.  I found myself gazing at this image of Christ, carved out of a single slab of stone, pondering this very principle.  Christ's head with the oversized crown of thorns felt heavy to me, as one's often feels upon finishing a long bout of crying.  Christ's fists seemed to be trying to curl into fists, as one often does when in deep despair, and pain.  Christ's own gaze struck me as both somewhat accepting and also incredulous.  I felt in this image of Christ an image of solidarity of Christ with us who also bear God's image.

I am mindful as I write this blog that many of our members are experiencing loss this summer....loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of mobility, loss of hoped for dreams.  

One of the hallmarks of our faith is that we believe that our God is not far off, observing us and desiring only to be worshipped and venerated, but our God is Emmanuel: God WITH us.  God became human in Jesus, truly experiencing lonliness, despair, betrayal, physical violence, and death.  During the seasons of life where we experience pain and suffering, we can be assured that God is there with us feeling our pain, waiting alongside us for hope, healing, and wholeness.

In the words of the late Dr. Howard Jones, who we will both celebrate and mourn this coming Saturday:

Spoken or not spoken, God is here (and everywhere else).

God is with us, not just as a comforter, but as one who shares in the pain we are experiencing, as one who stays and waits in that suffering alongside us.  And we are called to be God's presence to others, sitting alongside those around us who are in pain and suffering.

As you continue your Summer Road Trip, wherever you may find yourself, may you experience the loving presence of Jesus in your life and may you be that presence to those around you.

Grace and peace, and even more hope,

Pastor Jennifer