25 years ago this week, (April 19, 1995) 168 people were killed in the Oklahoma City bombing. After 25 years that day is foggy. But, I do recall a deep horror that daycare children died in the bombing. Logically, all those killed, whatever age, were God’s children. Emotions don’t always follow logic. Like with other national disasters and acts of terror the whole nation went into mourning–though most of us didn’t know the people who died.
As I type these words the “Worldometer” is recording 49,651 deaths in the USA from Covid-19: people of all ages, one of whom was my friend. If all the deaths happened on one day, I believe we would be planning national service of mourning. But, our losses are slow motion like a war–that is not over yet. And we can not ever gather. How do we mourning and keep on moving forward? How do we mourn: and go through the processes of filing for unemployment; and wash our masks and our hands and go do essential jobs everyday; and help our kids with at home schooling; and navigating working from home, and navigate the new ways of shopping; and learn virtual ways of meeting; and seek to meet our God in worship far from church buildings and each other?
2000+ years ago those who the hoped most in Jesus’ suffered the greatest when he was crucified. They hid for fear of being arrested and suffering a similar fate. Many were in Jerusalem for the Passover festival, yet had to return home to their lives sometime. One of the stories we have is that of two people walking home to a town called Emmaus. At Sunday’s virtual worship, we’ll ponder their journey more. For now, remember a stranger arrived to walk with them (the risen Christ who they didn’t recognize). During the walk they poured out their hearts, re-told their hopes and their hurts. The stranger listened and told them all the places he glimpsed God’s presence in their memories. Looking back at the day’s end, after recognizing Jesus, the walkers said, “did not our hearts burn within us…on the road.” (Luke 24:32)
My prayer for all of us, and for each of us in our socially distanced, separated lives, is that the healing power of the risen-Christ will come into our daily walks. I know, our daily walks are mixed with losses, to-do lists and this-isn’t-over-yet. I also know humans are biologically pre-programmed to exist in families and tribes. So, here’s a suggestion. Each day pick one stranger whose lost to Covid-19 and lift that person (and family) up in prayer. Pick one story of kindness you witness or hear about and give thanks that you glimpsed God’s grace at work. Pick one. Share one. Share one story of hope with another person by phone or an e-mail. Pick one. Share One. Place one. Place one foot in front of the other, knowing somehow, though the Grace of God, the Easter God is still at work in this world, in Jesus’ name. Pick one loss. Share one sign of God. Place one foot in front of the other in faith. Jesus walks with us in this.