Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Dear woman, here is your son," and to the disciple, "Here is your mother." From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.
~ John 19: 25-27
For those of us who live in and near the Santa Fe, Texas community, this week has been surrounded by tragedy. The unexpected shooting and deaths at the Santa Fe High School has left us numb and filled with so many questions.
While today is Pentecost Sunday, the day that we rememeber the ushering in of God's Holy Spirit, where Jesus reminds us that in His absence, a "Great Comforter" will come, there is difficulty in finding comfort in anything that has happened.
This morning I awoke and I began to look at the news, there at the top of the page was another photo of the young man who brought tragedy to our community.
For some reason when there is death like this, I am reminded that Jesus was publicly murdered, that a man betrayed him, and that there were so many factors involved.
While we have scripture to relate to us God's plan to send a Savior into the world so that we all may know eternal life, I cannot believe that the deaths of young people and their teachers is remotely God's plan.
What has helped me to move forward is realizing that we are the people living beyond Eastertime, the resurrection, and do have the Spirit of a loving God, surrounding us.
As I spoke to one of the folks I work with at hospice Friday after leaving the Santa Fe Junior High where I had sat with some of the victims of the attack, I shared that in our line of work, we see people of all ages at the end of life. We see people who have lived long lives, and lives that seem to be cut too short.
For any of us, the struggle of letting go and moving forward into an unknown, while hoping that something of us will remain, is something we all hope for.
I am reminded that at the end of our life both faith and hope will end, love will remain. Love is eternal. Love comes from God and returns to God. When we die, we will lose everything that life gave us, except for love. The love with which we lived our lives is the life of God within us. It is the Divine, indestructible core of our being. This love not only will remain, but is will bear fruit from generation to generation.
We are reminded, "Don't let your heart be troubled. The love of God that dwells in my heart will come to YOU and offer YOU consolation and comfort."
I am reminded that Easter, the resurrection and the arrival of the Great Comforter began with a last breath. May the last breath of those whom we lost this week in Santa Fe be the beginning of something brought out of the love of those we have lost.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2018
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.