Tragedy and Memory, Hope and Help.

This is my un-edited newsletter article for this upcoming month. I though maybe one or two folks might be interested in reading this a little closer to the events of this day.  Boston, you are in my prayers, peace, and comfort be with you all… djg

I am a little afraid I am starting to forget.

Oh, don’t worry it isn’t a medical condition, (I don’t think!) to be completely truthful, I have always been a particularly good forgetter. When I was in high school I would stand at my locker at the end of the day and stare at the piles of paper it contained knowing that there was probably homework in there some place but I had long forgotten what it was. This past week, I left a project, that I was going to work on at home in my office at church for 3 days, and there are papers that I should have returned to my files at church months ago taking up space on my home desk…

Maybe forgetting isn’t my issue, maybe remembering is?  There is a difference I think. Well,  maybe if I explain it will help clarify things a bit.

I can remember sitting at my desk in my bedroom on a Monday in early December, not doing homework, but futzing with model of a Star Wars X-Wing, trying to get the blaster burn marks just right… when I heard that John Lennon was shot. I wasn’t even a huge Beatles fan at that time, but I was still shaken.

Fast forward a few years, and a few memories, I remember watching the beautiful puffy contrails of a space shuttle launch arc upward against a bluer than blue Florida sky until suddenly they became twisted and in an instant the Challenger was no more. I distinctly remember a deep sadness and a profound ache for such a loss.

These are two of my earliest and most profound memories of tragedies; there have of course, been others; near and far, natural disasters, and man made ones, personal experiences, and ones of world wide impact.

My conundrum is this, as the years have progressed I have experienced more tragedies than I can remember.  I don’t intentionally forget them, I just don’t always remember. What got me to thinking about all of this was that as I sat down to write, reports of a bombing at the Boston Marathon were just coming to light. There have been so many tragedies and I began to wonder if a year from now I will remember the sad events of this day.  No disrespect, but it is highly likely that this event will soon fade into memory, maybe not in a year, but for many of us it will fade, but there is something that even in the face of evil, will not fade and it is this we cling to on days like today.

We are still in the season of Easter in the church and will be until the Day of Pentecost May 19th. Even then we remain an Easter People, blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit and called to proclaim life and new life even in the face of death itself.

So what does this speaking life into the face of death look like?  Well it looks an awful lot like what happened after the bomb blast. People immediately tending to the hurt, comforting the fearful and doing what they could however they could. There is a quote from Mr. Rogers that makes the rounds with tragedy rears its ugly head and there is much hope and wisdom in it.

 “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” I am comforted by realizing that there are so many helpers in this world.”

As Christians we are called to be those helpers in the world for tragedies large or small. We do not forget about evil, as if we could, but rather we are to remember the victory of Jesus over the grave, over all the powers of death and the devil.  As an Easter people we are called to remember that these events do not have the last word in life. We are a people of hope, called to bring comfort, help, and a word of life in the midst of the brokenness of the world, a world that God so loved “that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Now that, is something I think I can remember, and if I ever look like I am forgetting this, you have my permission to remind me.

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