I did not realize until 3:00PM last Friday that a tragedy had taken place that morning. The 3:00PM phone call: Have you heard about the situation in Connecticut? No. I had not been touch with news throughout the day. A quick internet search brought me up-to-date on the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. The evening news gradually revealed the story.
This past week there were many words spoken and tears shed. Confusion abounds as well as disbelief. How could this happen to innocent children and to adults who loved and cared for them? How could a young man take the lives of so many innocent people, his mother’s life and his own? The next weeks will bring further details. We may learn more. We may never know exactly why it happened.
What we do know is that in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy as people looked for comfort and into the trying days of Christmas and other religious holidays as families adjust to their loved ones absence there is a constant: Human and Divine presence: “Thank you for being there, thank you for caring. Thank you for coming. Thank you for being with me/us.” No words needed, rather presence, being there, assuring, caring, loving presence in the midst of unbelievable pain and sorrow.
And what about God, the Divine, Higher Power, in the midst of this situation that represents so many others in our country and world? All throughout the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, God’s promise to enfold us in love in the midst of every aspect of life is clear. For the 4th Sunday of Advent, Luke’s Gospel (1:39-45) portrays two women, Elizabeth and Mary, greeting one another. Elizabeth, pregnant at an older age has questions of her own. Mary, the younger has dreams and questions about the baby she carries. Yet both marvel at God’s presence in their lives –perhaps saying these words to one another: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by God would be fulfilled.” I am with you in the midst of joy and happiness. I am with you in the midst of sadness, disbelief and pain. Soothing reassuring balm. I am with you always. The promise. How many times as their lives unfolded would Elizabeth and Mary say these or similar words: “Gracious God you promised to be with me.”
And how many times will parents, siblings, children, grandparents, husbands, wives, uncles, aunts, cousins, grandchildren, friends, colleagues in Newtown and all places of sadness and devastation cling to God’s promise to be there in the midst of difficult moments and days and years.
Where in our lives do we experience God’s promise to be with us? Always. I am with you. I am with you. Always. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by God would be fulfilled.”
Our invitation is to embrace the Promise.
Blessings and peace