Below, Anne Evans, a member of Immanuel, shares a devotional based on the Sanctuary Choir’s recent tour to Ireland.
Not too long ago, members of Immanuel’s Sanctuary and Bell Choirs returned from a trip to Ireland singing and playing in beautiful cathedrals. We traveled in a bus driven by a lovely man named Brendan McLarty. (Try saying Brendan McLarty with an Irish brogue as you read on.) Along the trip, Brendan shared with us the story of his life and, while many of the stories were funny, some he shared were of deep hardship and loss. He spoke of being 17 when a rogue wave swept his father and his 14-year-old brother out to sea; Brendan had let go of his father’s hand never to see him alive again. He also spoke of his fiancée becoming sick with leukemia and of his fervent prayers invoking the name of St. Brigid of Kildare to cure her of her leukemia – prayers that were answered.
As we passed through County Kildare, we stopped at the shrine of St. Brigid so that Brian McLarty could give thanks for his wife and son, and we saw the many prayers of intercession and thanksgiving that were posted there. A remarkable thing happened as Brendan McLarty shared his stories and showed his pain to all of us. We felt our closeness to him grow day by day as the stories unfolded.
As I thought about this it reminded me of the sharing of celebrations and concerns that we do each Sunday at Immanuel. By sharing our sorrows, our pain, our joys, our hopes, we allow our true selves to be seen by others and we become open in a way that enables others to be the face and presence of God right here with us. Amen.