Sometimes it's hard to dance!
Sometimes, it’s hard to dance. Sometimes it doesn’t seem right to dance. Today is one such day. How does one comprehend the horror of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut three days ago? How does one carry on with life as usual? How does one pray for a community who have been deeply traumatised? How do you respond when you know that twenty of those innocent victims were little children?
Sometimes the music stops. And it is very hard to dance. Too hard! And so today I shall stop dancing. I shall instead pay respect to all who died that day. I will mourn with those who mourn. Life will never ever be the same for that community. Life will never be the same for the rest of the world either. Everything that happens in our world changes us. For good or for bad. Sometimes in minute ways. Sometimes in enormous ways.
When Cain killed his brother Abel and God asked him where Abel was – do you remember his response? ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?” he asked.
Am I my brother’s keeper? Am I my sister’s keeper?
There is only one response to that of course. A simple ‘yes’. We who have been born into this world as human beings share a common bond and a common heritage. We are part of one family. The Human family. Am I my brother’s keeper? Yes. Should I be affected by what happens to someone oceans away from me? Of course!
I had written a Christmas blog earlier in the week, but when I heard of the tragedy it didn’t seem right to post it. And so here I am today, trying to make sense of our world as I type these words. Sometimes it is right to stop my dancing. To reach out to someone who is hurting. To hold their hand. To hug them. To be with them. To grieve with them.
Last week, I was struggling with a personal issue, feeling I’d been badly treated. I went to God with my situation as I do with whatever I encounter in life. On Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, God spoke to me in amazing ways through His word and I was deeply comforted and greatly blessed. He gave me assurance of His love for me. He gave me practical steps in how to handle my own little ‘storm’. His Word was a light to my path.
And then – I heard the news. The sad sad news of the loss of 20 little children and 6 brave teachers who had also died. Senseless. Brutal. Unforgettable. And of course my own puny problems diminished to their real minute size. Instead, the plight of those who were facing that horrific situation jumped into my heart and stayed there as the urgent need of the day.
I turned to Psalm 46 and studied it – seeking God’s peace and comfort on behalf of all the families who were affected in the tragedy. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” is how the psalm begins. How comforting to read it.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging “ Psalm 46:1-3
There are times we have to stop dancing. There is a time when it’s right to ask questions. A time to grieve with those who grieve. The Psalm offers us something more.
"The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Psalm 46:7
At church this morning, my eye fell on our lovely Christmas tree, which sparkled with its beautiful lights. And then it suddenly clicked. ‘That’s what we have!” I thought to myself. Light. We have Light!
The world is at times a scary, dark place. Sometimes there is too much sorrow and far too many tears. But Jesus, the Light of the world shines brightly into that same darkness. That is the message of Christmas. He is the Light that dispels all darkness.