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Roller Coaster

In my early 20’s, before I got married, my dad and I went to Six Flags over Texas. My parents were living in Arlington at the time, and I had free passes. I told my dad that if we went, we had to ride the good rides. I didn’t want to waste my passes and us just walk around the park. He agreed.

We started with the simple rides. Nothing too terrifying… no loops or big drops, no tunnels or high speeds. Just the basics. But after a while, I talked him into riding the big one (at the time)… Mr. Freeze! This steel coaster pulled you up to vertical, at what felt like 100 feet, paused, then dropped you into multiple loops and a corkscrew going 70mph… backwards! At the end of the track, it dropped you again to do all of that forwards. It was the most thrilling coaster I had ever been on.

When we came to a stop, I looked and my dad. He was pale, sweating, and couldn’t speak. Two thoughts went through my head… 1. Do I need to call an ambulance? 2. Will either of my parents ever forgive me?

We walked straight from Mr. Freeze to the park exit, found our car, and went home… but not before I managed to buy the picture the ride takes at the most terrifying point. To this day, it’s one of my favorite pictures.

The ebb and flow the last 6 weeks has been a roller coaster, hasn’t it? Ups and downs, fun and fear, thrills and panic, joys and speechlessness. At times, the dramatic swings have been overwhelming.

The Prayer for Protection in the Book of Common Prayer says this… “Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attainment of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”

This prayer reminds us that regardless of the rollercoaster we face, whether it’s small hills or steep drops… whether it’s rolling humps or loop-de-loops… whether it’s forwards or backwards… no matter what it looks like, God in Christ Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit is our great defender. He walks with us daily with gracious and ready help, riding the rollercoaster with us, so that we might know His presence, comfort, and peace.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, keep you safe and make you strong, this night and always. Amen.

Fr. Brian+

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