Amid Tragedy, Let’s Talk

Chris —  December 18, 2014
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Avery is on crutches on the left side of this picture.

Mostly, what I’ve said this week is nothing. With the loss of one of the young people in our community not from our church, but as a community, one of our young people – –  more than anything, it’s a time to weep.

John 11:35 gives us the two words we most need, “Jesus wept.” The King cares.

But if I said just two more words, they would be, “Let’s talk.”

Rather than allowing the grief to wash over us until we are distracted in some way – – and the family will never be distracted – – let’s get together and talk. And whether we want to admit it or not, it’s far too easy to move on and address nothing.

Talking about spiritual matters is way easier than you think. The idea of getting together with a pastor sounds dramatic and intimidating. It’s not that bad. We’ll visit for a few moments and then, at the very least, we can decide what the questions are that we need to discuss.

Message me or call me or bang on my door.

Bring someone with you.

Come in a group of 2 or 3.

Ask for my wife to be there.

Or meet with another pastor or another spiritual leader.

We’ll visit for a bit. And then we will talk.

Think of it this way. Sunday, December 21, we’re having a Christmas oriented service. And at some point, pretty early in the service, we will take an offering. And the reason our church has the nerve to take an offering, even at Christmas time, is because we want to be there for our community. And the most tangible way our church is there is through our pastor. Vocational pastors are a gift that God gives to a local church and community. It’s humbling for me – – trust me (1 Peter 5:1-4). But the call on my life is to be a shepherd.

So let’s talk. Or talk to another pastor or leader who knows Christ and the Bible, but let’s do talk.

You might ask, “Do you have the time to talk?” And the answer is, “We’ll figure out the time thing.”

You might ask, “Do you really think we can accomplish much in one talk?” In a way, “yes,” but in another way “no.” Life is a long stretch of road and we need to start talking together. Then again, sometimes it’s not such a long stretch of road, so let’s talk now.

You might ask, “Do you really think you have answers?” Again, the answer is “yes,” but not because I have wisdom of my own, but because God is there, and he is not silent, and he has given us his Word and my call — and the call of all pastors – – is to open it up with you and show you how it speaks powerfully to our grief.

You might say, “Well, I’m just not the spiritual sort” . . . or “My life is already too messed up” . . . or “I’m too private” . . . Listen, those statements are lies. Don’t buy them. Let’s get together and see how there is hope. Truly.

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For a sermon on the tears of Christ in the face of tragedy, I highly recommend Tim Keller’s 9/11 sermon in NY. The actual sermon begins at about the 29 minute mark. But the prayers and Scripture readings before the sermon are medicine for our souls as well.

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4 responses to Amid Tragedy, Let’s Talk

  1. “I did not know Avery or his family” is what many of us have to say. However, being a mom, my heart is full of sorrow with this horrific tragedy. I do want to express the guilt I feel with my “going on with life and getting ready for the holidays” when I think of this family. I hope this family finds comfort and strength knowing total strangers ae holding them up in prayer. Love and prayers for this entire family and everyone who loves them.

  2. Thanks Pam. I struggle with this often. Once, I was at my son’s basketball game and then went to the home of someone dying. It all felt wrong. How can we watch junior high basketball one minute and mourn the next. How can we celebrate Christmas in this context? But I think the answer is that so long as we are Christ-centered it is appropriate to mourn and celebrate. We know the answer.

    Thanks so much for interacting with the post.

  3. I knew Avery as a member of the SVHS Boys Golf Team. A young man with a smile on his face everyday. I pray for comfort for his family over time. I know the community is strong and will support the Lovegren family. It is so painful when we do not understand the path life takes.

  4. Mark, thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.