There are some days of incredible darkness. Many of us are both saddened and shocked by the losses in our local communities over the past week. For those unaware, the losses are 3 deaths in less than 5 days. While full details have not been released all are tragic in their own right. Involving people who were not directly/ active members of our NewChurch LIVE congregation, they involved pe0ple with very close ties to many in our congregation and specifically to our sister church, the Bryn Athyn Church.
For those impacted, there is little in the way of words to offer at a time like this. And it is important as Pastor to share some thoughts that will fall short but that are offered, however clumsily, with deep love for those struggling today.
Where is God in all of this?
Events like these are never God’s will. They run contrary to it. And hell does gets its day on occasion where for reasons we will never fully understand anger, addiction, fear, overwhelm and run wild. Our greatest and most terrifying gift is freedom and at times we use that freedom in ways that are incredibly damaging.
So God is not in the event per se. Where God is is in the love, compassion, and support flowing out to all those impacted. I firmly, to the deepest part of my soul, believe God’s heart is always the first to break. His tears the first to flow. And our job is to join Him in “healing the brokenhearted and binding up their wounds” (Psalm 147) in our own limited yet beloved way.
So what can we do?
We can take care of each other and the impacted families. That simple. We can continually rededicate ourselves to the incredibly hard work of love and healing.
And as we take care of one another, consider ways of serving. These heartbreaks are one of the universal conditions of our experience of this life. As such, in face of calamity, it is a time to (a) draw in and (b) reach out. That is God’s invitation and our responsibility.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours,
No feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.
In facing tragedies as a Pastor, I so very deeply wish there was a “list”, a prescriptive “list” of how to move through days of incredible darkness. There is not. Just some thoughts that might comfort in some way. And a constant reminder, “When you find yourself in hell, keep going.”
For many, this IS our Easter. Our time of unimaginable loss especially for the families of the deceased. And with grace, and patience, God’s healing will find its way to us as we find our way home.