The news today in Montana included a memorial to a group of firefighters who died in 1949 at the Mann Gulch Fire near our capital of Helena. People all over our state mourned when this tragedy happened, and the history of grief returns with the 50-year tribute to the men and their deaths.
Elsewhere today, people are grieving in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, where mass shootings have left many dead and many worried about public safety in our country where mental problems and use of mind-altering drugs are out of control. We hurt whenever these tragedies happen, both for those who die and for those who are directly dealing with loss of friends and family members.
So often when we think about grief, we consider it a solitary, personal thing. But today’s events remind us that grief is also a group emotion, sometimes a nationwide emotion. When we deal with personal grief, we approach it from our own understanding of our faith. Grief shared across boundaries, however, often includes people of many faiths, many levels of belief, and many concepts about eternity.
Where does Jesus enter into this shared grief? Is he there just for those who gather in a Christian church or those who say the right words? The answer is a resounding “No”. He is the Lord who died for us all, who loves us all. We Christians need to see God’s hand in every part of history, despite the fact that we know that He is not the author of our tragedies.
Through all times, He has offered compassion and comfort to all people, if they will only accept it and cling to Him when they are in need. He cannot force their belief but instead offer the rewards for that belief. What that means is that every tragedy deserves our response of grief, empathy and prayers for all suffering people. When we know that all is in His hands, we can depend on our faith for all situations and all times.
Walking with the Light of the World gives us belief in Perpetual Light, in God’s hand in all times, and in the power of belief and prayer in the face of all tragedy. Amen.
I just want to continue to share ideas about grief and life with people who long as I do for comfort and understanding.