Reflection by Becky Arendt, a parishioner
It’s December of 1992. I’m a new mom holding my 4 month old baby boy and I’m watching the news. They’re talking about how 8 year old little girl, Cassidy Senter, who was walking to her grandparents house to make Christmas cookies, was abducted and murdered. And the very next story was about another girl named Angie Housman.
Yes, it’s 20 years later and I still remember their names and they float in and out of my thoughts and prayers from time to time. I remember this moment vividly. I held my baby a little tighter and began a long conversation with God. “Why did this happen? I’ve brought a child into a mean world. God, I don’t want to ever let my child out of my sight. God, please be with those families. . .” and so on. The more time I focused on these events, the more they fed into my worries, fears and anxiety to the point where I simply just had to turn the tv off. I couldn’t watch it anymore. I needed some peace. And then I sat down at my piano and began playing songs from a new book my mom had given me. I opened the book to “All I ask of You” and as I played and read the lyrics, I felt as if God was speaking to me… “No more talk of darkness, forget these wide-eyed fears, I’m here, nothing can harm you, my words will warm and calm you. Let me be your freedom. Let daylight dry your tears, I’m here, with you beside you, to guard you and to guide you….Let me be your shelter, let me be your light…” I would write the rest, but I think you get my point.
Since then, anytime there has been a tragedy sensationalized on the news, I go back to this moment. And I am reminded that God just wants us to spend time with Him, to pray unceasingly, to love and feel His Love. Last Friday, after hearing what happened in Connecticut… I went back to this moment, again and heard, “Love me, that’s all I ask of you”.
In today’s gospel, Zechariah is silenced. He is blessed by this in many ways. God just wanted him to listen. I imagine that gave him a lot of time to hear God’s voice, feel His love and His grace. He loves us so much and He wants this for all of us, but He gives us the choice to do so. So where do I want to devote my time? Listening to the news and feeding my worries and fears? Or being quiet, listening to God’s voice and letting His presence flood my entire being with His love and peace.
I choose the second.
+In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.