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17 May 2020

Horatio Spafford was a man of great-faith who lost his 4 daughters in a sinking ship in the Atlantic.  In forming this hymn he was in grief; one can never imagine what this vile act of faith brought to his thinking. There was nothing to live for  many would have said, but he persevered in making a statement of faith “It is well with my soul.” 
In our lives there are daily troubles that come to us, none now more so than this virus that has rocked-the-world. Some are defeated because of job-loss, others from confinement, sadly there are over 100 suicides (world-over) daily.  It seems all hope is lost. It’s easy for moralist (bishops-included)  to pontificate where sometimes we do not fully understand the plight of those who suffer but Spafford shows a way... 
When peace like a river attendeth my way 
When sorrow like sea billows roll 
Whatever my lot thou has taught me to say  
It is well, with my soul 
A 45 year old granddaughter grieves that she could not hold the hand of her grandmother, who raised her from age-3,  while she was dying. A daughter whose father at age-91 with an impeccable reputation could not be funeralized. A mother’s heart burn as her 7-year-old died from the virus. Many-are-despondent because they CANNOT-fellowship together in worship, thousands of examples can be given in this saddening tale but in the midst of all this Spafford lends comfort...
Though Satan should buffet, Tho trials should come 
Let this blest assurance control, 
That Christ has regarded My helpless estate, 
And has shed his own blood for my soul
How I wish from my non-pulpit I could render comforting-words.  How could I  ease the pain of those who suffer; but as you journey on think of the flavor-of-life you enjoyed, look at the  memories. Spafford could have given-up upon the death of  'his angels’  but he persevered, not only did he, but left us with a legacy of faith and hope.  Hear him one last time...
And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight 
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll 
The trumpet shall resound, and the Lord shall descend 

++Hartley, Presiding Bishop of the ACW


Reaching Out to the World and..... Beyond
Under the Protection of the Cross

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