My Thoughts on the Morning of Tragedy-August 26, 2015

It is impossible to make sense of that which is senseless. Struggling this morning in light of the local WDBJ 7 news reporters who were gunned down while on air. They were both young and had a lot of things going for them. Violence doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It lives in all communities and no one is immune to this possibility. The actions of one can have long-lasting effects on so many. Violence shakes us out of our comfort zones, and again we are robbed of the facade of life as usual. We are reminded that life is temporary.

The schools in our county are on lock down this morning as a precaution. My wife is a teacher and my son is in his second week of Kindergarten. I think of them and the others just doing their jobs as the reality of violence overruns our innocence and of those who may have been watching this live at the time of the incident. Tonight, my child may ask questions. I will not have answers, how do you make sense of that which is senseless?

I will hug my wife and children tonight and weep for the reality of the world we live in, and pray! As a person of faith, I do all I know to do which is to pray for the families of these young victims. Who in doing their jobs lost their lives. I pray for the peace that passed all understanding to comfort their families and friends. Only a peace that passes understanding can give comfort when the act itself is beyond understanding (senseless).

For those who knew them personally, my prayer is that they will be remembered by so many not for how they died but for how they lived and their impact on the lives that they touched.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”~Matthew 5:4

And in time,

“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.”~Jeremiah 31:13b

Seasons

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

In late summer I look forward to the fall season. I am not sure I could give just one reason but it is my favorite season. The nights are crisp and the days are cool. As nature begins to hunker down for the winter the beautiful color of the leaves becomes vibrant and the faint smell of chimney smoke. Then it transitions into a season of thankfulness and then to a season of expectation. This is a wilderness time with little daylight preparing the way for the coming of the Savior, the light of the world.

There are also seasons in life, times of transition or challenge in life. These seasons maybe things we can anticipate like a new school year, expectant mother, or wedding. However, there are other seasons that we can anticipate like an accident, health crisis, or death of a loved one. Both the seasons that we can see coming and those that we do not can be stressful in their own ways.

A man once said, “Change is inevitable, but growth is optional.” There is wisdom in those words. While many do not want to embrace certain “changes” or “seasons” they will inevitably come and so we must consider whether we can also grow from these seasons. Ecclesiastes reminds us that “there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”

These seasons are reminders that we cannot control if they happen but our response in these seasons can either lead to growth or to death. How we respond can change the outcome of the season. Ecclesiastes also reminds us that there is “a time to plant and a time to uproot.” In the parable of the vine and branches we are told that any branch that does not bear fruit is pruned for the health and growth of the plant. We have as a society become cluttered communities that see growth as adding more rather than pruning a little here and there for the health of the whole.

If a person who has a lot of things or money in this world were to suddenly fall very ill, they would not have a desire for more, but a desire for health. Growth is a part of health not of simple addition. As we enter this next season of the year may we be gracious, and anticipate the light of the world coming into the darkest days of the year. The seasons of our lives come and go change will be inevitable, but will we look with new eyes to see the opportunities to grow through these seasons of life? What season are you in right now? What opportunities do you have to grow?

The Ties That Bind

10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:10 & 12

The body of Christ is a blessing for many reasons. Let me share a few:

  1. We do not journey alone.       With the struggles and difficulties of life we need the support and encouragement of one another in Christ.       We need to know that we do not journey alone, so if one does fall down or gets discouraged that his friend can help him up. Ecclesiastes reminds us we should pity the person who, when they fall has no one the help him up. Perhaps we are to be pitied the most when we have the blessing of the body and choose not to journey together.
  2. We gather for that which is greater. Scripture reminds us where two or three are gathered in his name that he is there in the midst of them. Gathering together in the name of Christ brings us closer to him and in the process closer to one another. To acknowledge another person as a “brother” or “sister” we must first acknowledge that we have the same Father. Gathering for that which is greater, strengthens the bonds we have as believers.
  3. There is strength in numbers. There are on “Lone Ranger” Christians. Alone we can be easily tempted and often overpowered, two can defend themselves, but a cord of three (or more) strands is not easily broken. What binds us together is that which also gives us hope, strength, and encouragement in our daily walk.

“Blest be the tie that binds, our hearts in Christian love, the fellowship of kindred minds, is like to that above.”