A Senseless Death?

Pastoral Reflections

Recently, I cried at the death of a man whom I had never met. He was the father of three young daughters who, in essence, died as a result of excessive amounts of alcohol and drugs. Adopted at age 12 he strived to fit in with his new Christian, middle-class family. He used wit and charm and good works; love of children and animals; a fun loving spirit and a sense of humor; to find love and acceptance in a world that had left him abandoned and abused as a baby and young child.

He was a believer in Christ, however, the weaknesses from his past took his life one day at a time. All that was so good and charming about him was swallowed up by the evil and brokenness in this world.

So, I wept over the sadness of his life; over the pain he endured, the pain he inflicted on others, the loss of a life of this precious child of God; a human life that God had wanted to bless with His love, joy, peace, faith and hope; and, who God had wanted to be a blessing to others. Even as a believer, he still struggled with the brokenness and pain that led to poor choices.

At his grave, as we laid him to rest, we proclaimed God’s claim on him. We put our faith in God who has the final say. The emptiness and loneliness of his life, the shame and sin, the damning voices, the hurt and pain, the anger and fear — all are gone! We cry that he was unable to claim and experience God’s love and presence more fully in his life. We cry that he could not be all that God had intended for him to be on earth. We cry that he could not fight against the sin that controlled his life and hurt others. We cry because there is so much that he will miss in this earthly life that was good. And, we cry because he will be dearly missed by those who love him. But through the tears we also shout with joy. By Christ’s death we have life. Death has been destroyed. Death has no sting! Alleluia! Alleluia!

         — Reflection by Rev. Peggy Murray