As we are all too quickly completing the first quarter of 2013 and approaching the next highlight of our holiday season, Easter, I’m going to pull back on the reins, just a tad, and take us back to December and advent.
Pastor Bill, “In the High Church traditions, last weekend marked the first Sunday of Advent, a time of preparation and anticipation of the appearing of the Christ of Christmas. The Advent Season is about telling the story of Christ’s birth. It is about awakening our spiritual senses, making room for miracles, opening our hearts, and sharing the Light of the world. The lights, the gifts, the special time we spend with our family are all tiny glimpses into the real awe and wonder of this season, and give us opportunity to imprint our lives with the reality of God’s most wonderful gift.”
Isaiah 9:1-9 Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For thou hast broken the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, as in the day of Midian. For every battle of the warrior is with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood; but this shall be with burning and fuel of fire. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel. And all the people shall know it…
There came a service (the third Sunday of Advent) that Pastor Bill stopped everything upon the completion of his opening message and asked the children to line up on the top step of the pulpit. The parents were thrilled at this moment because we knew the kids, in all their restlessness, were preparing for their sermon and then off to kiddie school (yes, I usually am clapping for joy at this moment as this is when I can finally relax and enjoy the rest of the service while my kids get the much coveted freedom to learn as they do best – hands on and moving). Today, though, Pastor Bill did something different.
He hugged every single child!
He hugged them with tears running down his crestfallen cheeks.
He hugged them closely.
Now, he does hug the kids every time he sees them (big and little). That’s just Pastor Bill. This time though, this was different, and we all knew there was a message within a message in these hugs.
The children have now scampered off to their respective cubbyholes and Bill’s attention was on us. His voice hushed, serenity filled with anguish as his words were choked from his body, “I hugged each child today because there are 20 families in Connecticut that cannot hug theirs.”
The effects are right out of a comic book with the wham, bam, pow wee. With a few simple words the oxygen was depleted from the room and a painful silence cascaded like a heavy wool blanket.
The event had just happened on Friday, and this was Sunday. The pain, the images, the stories were still so fresh and raw. Each parent holding his or her beloved child more closely than four days earlier understanding the reality that despite the distance of states how easily it could have been our child in their school. The ache we all felt will probably never diminish as only a parent can understand the sheer notion of what these families were facing, though we all did thank God it was only in empathy and not in direct emotional response.
Psalms 38:4 – My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.
Thank God it was not my child quilt.
These emotions lay heavy within each of us as we hear the stories and the names unfold before us on international television news, our computer screens, and printed media…
– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female
All 26 school victims are listed here, but there is one more that I believe should also be honored, and that is the Mom, Nancy Lanza, whom was murdered in her bed.
Pastor Bill, “The killer wrote his name in history which is why he did what he did but that is as far as I’ll recognize him. He will get no more mention from me. I will honor God and those that fell to him by understanding that within the Bible all things work together – Good with evil. Think about those 6 teachers that stood between good and evil to protect those children, and whom perished. They were good and the good will live on. It will be seen. It will be delivered!
Jesus did not come to become the son of God, he always was. He came to become human!”
Jesus wanted to be human like us. Frail. Fallible. Prone to judgment and risks, the same as you and me, but he did it so that he could take our sins away so that we may once again put our faith into God’s hands.
Stop for a moment in your life and remember, honor Jesus, God, and all those that have fallen to the hands of evil and hug your children, hug a stranger, hug yourself.
Pesos – Credo – Fides
Please take a moment, click on the link, and then play the video. Honoring the fallen is not a timed statement but a forever sentiment. Thank you.