Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
~ Matthew 5:4
Yesterday morning I awoke to the news that the daughter of close friends had been murdered by her husband. It was a stark reminder of how violent our world can be. That people I love and care for are now encountering something that they never would have expected to be part of their lives.
I wish that I could say that this was the "first" time that I had encountered something like this, but it isn't. Nearly twenty years ago, a dear friend's mother who had found the courage to leave her husband, was gunned down by him in her place of work. As she tried to hide under her desk, he managed to find and kill her. Then, as news helicopters circled above, the man walked outside the office building where he had just killed his wife and shot himself, with cameras capturing every moment. My friend was a young adult. She and her brother were suddenly witnesses of just how violent the world can be, while also becoming victims of a world that seems to thrive on eight-second news sound bytes of pain and sorrow.
As they went to pick up their mother's car from her workplace, they were filmed, as reporters shouted questions.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
In our world today we seem to have a need to be present in the grief of those who mourn. As I watched the news, my friend who just lost his daughter, was being asked questions by a reporter who was more interested in "getting the story," than to be reminded of the words Jesus shared on a hillside one day.
Last night I lay awake, thinking of two more children who are now left with a new life. A life that now will exist without their mother, and a father who was shot and arrested by police.
I can remember when I was a young Christian, I would hold out hope that the good that existed, even in the smallest amount, would find some way to prevail. That even in the darkest moments of humanity, that small flicker of light would lead to a place where we would once again discover that we are both Divine and dust, and that we were created to live with one another in a world much different than the one we now encounter.
I think that it would be easy at this point, living in a world that seems to be filled with these dark moments, to simply become an onlooker, shaking my head, while burying my face in my hands. But instead, I am reminded that we have been entrusted to carry hope to the hopeless, love to those who feel they cannot be loved, and to seek justice, love mercy, while being instruments of a God who became incarnate in Jesus. Jesus, who saw anger in the faces of the creation, violence, pain, suffering, greed, death and all that we witness today.
I do not know what it is that drives us to take the most precious thing that we have to offer, life, from one another, but we do. It began with a brother who discovered that blood on his hands was an option. It continued with a God who asked him, "Where is your brother?"
Blessed are those who mourn. For those who find that they are victims of domestic violence. For children who are orphaned, and families who live with the images of what this violent world can do. For domestic violence programs who are overwhelmed. For those who are trapped in a cycle of violence that seems to have no end.
Lord in Your mercy...
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2020
If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at
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.