2 Corinthians1: 3-7
“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.”
The country is battling with a world pandemic and in the midst of this struggle the worst mass shooting Canada has faced occurs and is still unfolding; horrific, tragic, senseless….words are not enough! How do we care for those suffering, what are we to do and how are we to understand all of this? These are some of the questions that we will be asking of ourselves and others.
I feel the need to qualify why I should even begin to give suggested answers and why you should even read any further. I am a Police Veteran of twenty-seven years and Priest of twelve years and have worked with and cared for hundreds possibly thousands of victims of crime and violent crime. I have been a victim on a number of occasions myself most notably when protecting a Care home for women and children, three young men tried to stab me and left me unconscious. I have lost friends and colleagues in the line of duty. In this experience I found that those suffering in such situations (including me!) need others, love and support in different ways. Emotions are raw, there is confusion, sadness, agony, anger, despair and so many questions. Explanations are sought but not always wanted or received in the early days.
One of the best responses is that of an empathic ear with patience that allows these emotions to be expressed. Comfort, love and understanding without clinical explanations help best at the beginning. God calls us to comfort one another. He is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us that we might comfort others; AND He IS qualified. His Son, the Lord Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice of love by giving His life for us, even when we did not know Him, love Him or want Him (John 15: 13). His Father God knows the pain of that grief and loss and as the Father of us all He knows deep grief. So, He can comfort and His Holy Spirit can give our emotions the capacity and foundation to cope and overcome.
So today let us receive God’s compassion and comfort then share the same with others. Let’s simply listen, comfort and care, loving in God’s power. It is so encouraging to see this sort of response already across Canada. There will be the right moment for explanations as time passes, for now let us pray in faith and trust in the God of love.
To Ponder: Do you know the story of Horatio G. Spafford the author of the famous hymn, ‘It is well with my soul,’? Read his story, at the below link, listen to the hymn then consider his response in the light of all that we are facing. Does this help?
Prayer: A Prayer of Compassion by Mother Teresa: Lord, open our eyes
that we may see you in our brothers and sisters. Lord, open our ears
that we may hear the cries of the hungry, the cold, the frightened, the oppressed.
Lord, open our hearts that we may love each other as you love us.
Renew in us your spirit. Lord, free us and make us one. Amen
Praise: It is well with my soul
Link - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhaTIu_k4w0
Incumbent at St Aidan's Anglican Church,