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Dennis J. Meaker

Tim, you seem intent on labeling everyone who disagrees with you as serving up meaningless platitudes. I agree that those who are mourning will not feel Joy for many months or years if ever again. It is perfectly appropriate to mourn with them and I intend to speak to that as well as to the inexplicable reality that God allows such things to happen. There are no easy answers.

Yet the world that Christ entered was just like the one containing the bodies of those dead children, if not worse. The "joy" we feel may not be festive, but rather the quiet assurance that God has reached into our reality and is with us in our shock and grief. It is not offered as a substitute for the warmth of the child in our arms nor as a salve for the pain. But I believe that it is the Gospel and should not be denied in favor of grieving with the parents.

With respect, it is not an either/or situation. I can grieve with these parents, and do. I can express my anger and outrage and ask with the psalmists, "Why have you abandoned us?" for it feels that way. But, If our faith cannot cannot be expressed in the midst of our grief, why bother with the Gospel at all? I have no "evidence" or "facts" that will contradict the reality of those broken bodies. I do have a faith, that tells me that God is weeping along with those parents and seeking to bring healing. My faith tells me that in the darkest time, God is still there. That the "seeming absence" is not in fact absence. And that is a reason for joy. Expressing that is not seeking to "make lemonaide" or favoring theology over reality.

If I were sitting with those parents, I'd probably opt for silence because they cannot process anything right now but their pain and grief. But I also have those not immediately affected to pastor. For those I will attempt to preach the Gospel.

timothy merrill

Good thoughts, Dennis, thanks! Timothy Merrill

Margaret Cockburn

Jesus said "Suffer the little children to come unto me". I think that says it all.
No comfort in these words, only heartache and grief but a promise is held there within, not easily see-able but it is there.

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