While it was a pretty challenging, snowy drive to the ECMN Retreat Center, I was as excited as I always am for our Meeting of Elected Bodies. Greeting people as they arrived, everybody had a story of traveling travails, yet there was still a good spirit in the air. Then, like being caught in a sudden downpour, I received a phone call telling me that a longtime dear friend of mine had lost both of her children the night before in flames that ravaged their home… and life was changed forever.
The mother is one of my “Kanuga kids.” I have known here since she was in junior high and have walked life’s journey with her through high school, college, marriage, and the births and baptisms of her sons. And now, with all of the family of God, we begin the painful walk forward with her.
This week, as we move from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil, and Easter Morn, we once again have the privilege to follow in the Way of Jesus: A journey that will traverse from triumph to tragedy to transformation. A journey that will call on all those who take these sacred steps to bring forth our most vulnerable, transparent, and authentic selves. A journey that when entered into deeply, will not only draw us closer to being the beloved child of God we were created to be, but will also give us the strength for the journey ahead… a journey we do not take alone.
The loss of two of God’s sweetest little young ones is literally a tragedy beyond words. And yet, like the journey to the cross, it is a journey we do not take alone. Within moments of receiving this unfathomable news, like angels descending from above, the beloved family of God began to tighten the circle of love around my dear friend… singing with the heavenly chorus, we will journey together through the challenges and tragedies of this life to the new life that is the promise of Easter Morning.