In the last two weeks, Manchester, Portland, London and Tehran have all witnessed deadly terrorist attacks. I have a friend, years younger than I, who is enduring chemotherapy, highly invasive surgery and a severely limited quality of life. I sat with a new couple at church last Wednesday night who told me about their developmentally disabled daughter.

She lived years longer than doctors expected but not long enough for the parents who loved her. I told them about my late sister, Jean. We traded stories through tears.

Many folks firmly believe that the earth is slowly but inexorably heating up and that within our lifetimes, coastlines will be submerged and crops will be scorched. And they are terrified. Every other day some new study warns of new dangers — sitting is the new smoking, diet drinks cause dementia, gluten is killing us but gluten-free might cause diabetes. So we live anxiously.

Oh, and of course Trump. Or Hillary. Or Obama’s shadow government, depending on which way you lean politically.

I could go on with depressing highlights from my local paper or our church prayer list, but let’s just stipulate that the world can be a very dangerous place to live. And until a beloved organization known for space exploration tells us otherwise, it also happens to be the safest place in the universe. (I’m looking at you, NASA!)

If people who don’t believe in God live in a constant state of upset and fear, I get that. I really do. Why would they not? If there is no God, if this is all there is, then panic, anxiety and dread are appropriate, even justified.

What I don’t get is when believers live like we don’t know how this story ends. And, judging by our tweets, Facebook posts and other online communications, many of my brothers and sisters seem to think we are one corrupt politician, catastrophic illness or climate disaster away from eternal gloom.

Not so, says John.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  (Revelation 21:4 – 5, ESV)

Fine. All’s well that ends well. But what about all the calamity we have to endure between now and then? Centuries ago, God’s Spirit inspired some anonymous poet to write this:

I know that the Lord is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.The Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths.7 He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; he sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from his storehouses. (Psalm 135:5 – 7)

This story is going to end very well. Between now and then, our good God is in charge. Do all the good you can. Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. And whatever you do, do not be afraid.

Why Our Members Chose Twickenham

First visit several years ago was confusing. First visit this summer, I was impressed with the service and the friendliness of the people. I was impressed with the focus on community. The openness, the understanding that the church is part of the world and local community.

I have always felt loved here. No one has ever judged me or made me feel less during any of my trials.

I consider the hearts of the people at Twickenham to be one of the greatest strengths. I have seen people quietly serve in so many ways and walk out life together. I also believe that the resources of the congregation can be a huge strength. Together, there is such a huge opportunity for ministry.

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