Be with those people who could not finish the race

Published 6:12 am Friday, April 19, 2013

By the Rev. Cherie Daniel
Freeborn Congregational United Church of Christ in Freeborn, Alden United Methodist Church and Grace United Methodist Church in Kiester

Oh God, terrible and terrifying events have occurred.

In reckless and yet calculated order, someone has caused random hurt in us. Innocent people have been harmed. In a time when international unity is celebrated, someone has caused us to cast doubt and fear and suspicion on those we would call “other.” What would incite this depth of fear and anger and rage in a fellow human being? How could this happen?

Email newsletter signup

From disbelief and dismay and tears, we lift up our souls to you for answers; and if not answers, then comfort.

And we see evidence of your spirit among us.

Your spirit is in the hearts of the police officers who put their lives in danger to protect us.

Your spirit is in the hearts of the first responders who rush toward the destruction to find your people whose bodies have been injured and to transport them to medical care facilities.

Your spirit is in the hearts of the staff at the medical facilities who accept all patients and bring medicine, equipment and TLC to your hurting children and their families.

Your spirit is in the hearts of the strangers who open their homes and who pay for meals at local restaurants and who assist in communications so that your hurting people would be sheltered.

Your spirit is in the hearts of all those around this globe who prayed then, and are praying now, and will continue to pray until peace comes to our world.

Yet sometimes we lose our connection with you. The images are overwhelming. We turn away. We stop our ears. We do not speak. We harden our own hearts, not allowing ourselves to experience anything — because the bad is simply too bad.

But then we remember. And we open ourselves up to receiving your messages of hope.

We see the sunshine that follows the rain.

We feel the embraces of others who are hurting, too, but who want to share our grieving.

We smell the beauty of new life in plowed earth and fresh-cut flowers.

We hear your voice speaking through the music of songbirds and whispering wind, pipe organ and praise band, murmuring prayers and laughing children.

We taste your presence in the cups of coffee and in bread and cup shared in your Son’s name.

Be with those who could not finish the race — that they may know their efforts were not in vain and that the true account of the race is in the preparation for it.

Be with those who now are without loved ones — that they may know your consolation in the fact that their memories will keep those lost ones close.

Be with all your people — all colors, all races, all languages — that they may know your holy love which prevails over any hate the evil of this world might perpetrate against them.

We praise your name, O God, for your faithfulness throughout our lives now and into eternity. Amen.