When There Are No Words

togetherThis week a tragedy hit our community. A young man – a high school senior – lost his life in an automobile accident on the way to school. It appears the rain falling that morning caused him to lose control and hit an electric pole.

School was already in session for the day and the administrators had the heavy responsibility of sharing the news with the student body. I was called along with other pastors and counselors to be present at the school. Once the news was shared, there really wasn’t much left to say. I had a few brief conversations with a handful of students, but nothing that could really touch the shock and sadness they felt.

What I did observe was what happens when there are no words. Students huddled together and talked. Some simply sat and cried. It was unique to watch students support one another. I saw teenage boys, who might usually just give a quick head nod or a “what’s up?” in the hallway, ask each other how they were doing. They offered hugs. Pats on the back. I heard several times, “how are you doing?” and “are you ok?” One student simply walked around with a box of tissues offering them to fellow students.

It is an event that occurs too often in communities everywhere. Young lives are lost and peers are left to sort through their emotions. I was reminded again of what many people call “the ministry of presence.” Words are few, but simply being present begins the process of healing and provides support for those who are grieving.

I appreciated the way the school leadership handled the situation and continue to pray for the family and friends of the young man. Sometimes, in the midst of our hurt, there are no words. But in the midst of pain, God offers comfort and hope.

Tears on Palm Sunday

This past Sunday was Palm Sunday.  It is the day we remember when Jesus rode on a donkey as the people shouted praises to Him.  In the eyes of most people, it is the time when Jesus received the adulation He deserved.

In his message on Sunday, our preacher brought out a verse we don’t often look at on Palm Sunday.

We usually think of words like “Hosanna” and “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.”  But in Luke 19:41-42, we read this:

As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes.”

Jesus wept because the people missed it.  Actually they missed Him.  Jesus knew that even though they were cheering Him, they didn’t understand what He was about.  He knew not only what was going to happen to Him in just a matter of days at the hands of these same people.  He also knew what was going to happen to the city of Jerusalem.

One of the challenges of the message is to question whether we sometimes miss Jesus.  Even as we approach Easter, do we miss Jesus?

You can watch Dale’s message here.