Friday, April 4, 2014

Day 27 of Lent, Friday, April 4, 2014

     Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, 
        my brother would not have died.
                                                             John 11:21

Four soldiers died on Wednesday at Fort Hood, Texas including the gunman who committed suicide.  Iraqi vet Ivan Lopez shot 19 people, three of which were killed.

Lopez was undergoing treatment for mental illness and had a wife a daughter living on base.

This tragedy comes after the shooting in 2009 on Fort Hood in which 13 people were killed.
The remains of Sgt. Amy S. Krueger are carried to the waiting aircraft by the Fort Hood honor detail.
 Krueger was killed during the Nov. 5, 2009 massacre at Fort Hood.

The kind of grief that comes with this encounter for the family members of the victims is often horrific.  There is a steeling of oneself when a loved one goes to a foreign base where combat duty is a real possibility.  But to have this happen on American soil is likely more difficult because it seems so random.

When we lose loved ones - especially without warning to tragedy - the grief can be overwhelming.  Different people cope in different ways.

Diana Troxwell, who lost her 20 year old daughter to a heroin overdose felt like a failed parent.  She joined a support group of other parents who faced a similar loss.

Some people turn to their faith in times of grief while others feel that God somehow abandoned them.

They want to know, "Where was God in this?  Why didn't my son or daughter's guardian angel show up and prevent this from happening?"

In a shooting, there is not much room between being injured and being killed.  The small margin of error - the bullet moving just inches one way or another - can be the difference between life and death.

Knowing this can cause a person to "what if" themselves to a breakdown.  It can also leave them feeling as if God is oblivious to human feeling.

This Sunday's lectionary reading is from the story of Lazarus in John 11:1-45 and my sermon title is "When Death Seems More Real than God."  It will be available on by Monday.

I also found this prayer to be especially helpful for the grieving:

We give them back to you, dear Lord, who gave them to us.  
Yet as you did not lose them in giving, so we have not lost them by their return.
What you gave, you haven't taken away, O Lover of souls; for what is yours is ours also if we are yours.
And life is eternal and love is immortal, and death is only a horizon, and a horizon is nothing save the limit of our sight.
Lift us up, strong Son of God, that we may see further; 
cleanse our eyes that we may see more clearly;
and draw us closer to you that we may know ourselves to be nearer to our loved ones who are with you.
And while you do prepare for us, prepare us also for that happy place, that where they are and you are, we too may be for evermore.  Amen.

                                 William Penn, 1644-1718

Photo by John Byerly, U.S. Army (Fort Hood departure) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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