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NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN LENT, MARCH 24, 2019 – Covenant Community Church, Birmingham Alabama


As I write this on Thursday morning: I feel, in the words of Thomas Paine, “These are times that try ‘men’s” souls.”

Sunday, I spoke at the Birmingham Islamic Center in response to the terrorist attacks last week in New Zealand. Tuesday, my family said goodbye to a beautiful 7-year girl, who died in a tragic accident. That day, another cousin died. Wednesday, I tried to encourage and prayed with a clergy colleague facing some very challenging and difficult times. The same day I prayed with a Covenant Deacon whose family is going through rough times including a loved one’s death that morning.

Reading the assigned Gospel text for this coming Sunday from Luke 13 was not exactly refreshing. It speaks of death and destruction. Then I read Psalm 63:3, “Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” It reminded me of God’s unseen presence with me always, especially the dark times of life.

The book, An Unseen Angel, was written by Alissa Parker, after her daughter, Emilie, was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. She writes…

“In one of the last conversations I had with Emilie, she tried gleefully to help me see the connections in a stencil pattern on her wall. ‘Mom, do you see the connections? They are all around us!’ Through the years, those words have led me on a quest to find, recognize, and appreciate the connections that surround us all.” … “My hope in sharing our story is that others who find themselves in dark places can discover the unseen angels in their lives helping them turn to the light.”

As a Christian Pastor, I believe that’s my calling as well. “These are the times that try ‘our’ souls,” but I’m thankful for ‘The Unseen Angel’ with us, Christ.

Join us at Covenant for worship this Sunday. My sermon on this will be “God’s Steadfast Love is Better Than Life” based on Psalms 63:1-8 and Luke 13:1-9.

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