We have faced a terrible tragedy recently. Everything was terrible. For days my entire body hurt. My head felt like it was much too heavy for my scrawny neck to support it. We lost a beloved friend, a pillar of our community, and a truly good man when Illya died. I spent a very difficult day with the widow of our American friend who died. For 36 hours my dear friend David Goran was in a Ukrainian hospital without painkillers or antibiotics after a very serious injury.
Everything was terrible.
As we move forward, we see the great joy of living life in community. Here are a few pictures of our Sunday morning worship service.
Everything is wonderful. Even in these difficult days - we see God's great lovingkindess in abundance. We see people growing closer to one another and to God. We see true community.
God is good and God is faithful. My pastor (standing behind the altar table in the third photo) and I have shared so many good conversations these last few days. We have experienced scripture in new ways. He has read and re-read the Gospel of John as one long trial of Jesus. I have delighted in God's words to Job.
Everything is wonderful. Our God, our theology, and our faith is big enough to handle death - especially the death of one who loved Jesus with all of his heart. We rejoice that Illya is with his savior in heaven. We look forward to joining them some day.
We are moving forward - but we have a long way to go. Everyone is grieving in different ways - and even one of his good friends just found out the news today. But, the great joy is that we have our faith and one another to help us through these times.
Everything is wonderful. Tomorrow we celebrate the baptism of Erika and Andriy Tatchyn's baby girl. They are thankful that their dear friend Illya was able to come and meet their newborn daughter before the tragedy. They asked a priest how long they should wait during this time of mourning before they baptized her - and he confidently responded that they shouldn't wait. It is always the right time to celebrate a new birth and a new child of God.
I promised not to post any pictures of Marta's adorable little face until all of our friends have met her in person - but for now you can see her great hair and Erika's joyful smile!