God is our Consolation
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies and the God of all consolation,
who consoles us in all our affliction,
so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction
with the consolation
with which we ourselves are consoled by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
My heart grieves this evening for those who have been killed and wounded in Manchester.
When we think about tragedy and loss, as much as we might want to say, very little can actually speak to the sadness we feel on an individual level.
As Christians, however, we believe that God loves us personally and deeply. We believe that God grieves with us, mourning our loss as only his complete love can.
We know that our God does not remain distant, but loved us so much that he gave us his only son. Christ took on all the weakness and pain of humanity. He too, wept at the loss of his friend Lazarus. He gave himself on the cross that we might rejoice.
When our hearts break, when we cannot make sense of what has happened, in times of grief and loss, it is important to come together before our loving God. As individuals and as a community of faith – whether that be hundreds of students or two close friends – we can hold one another up in faith and hope and console each other at this tragic time.
The world needs God and God is with us always.
Oh God, heal those who have been wounded, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Comfort and heal those who were spared injury and death. Give them strength and hope for tomorrow.
Loving Christ, be present with family and friends who are grieving. Give them strength and keep them from the temptation of becoming bitter and hate filled. Loving Christ, be with the community of Manchester.
Oh, Holy Spirit, move among us. Inspire us to love. Move us to grace and mercy. Help us to be compassionate. Stir us to acts of justice. Help us to be very present with all those who are hurting, grieved, and hopeless.
Almighty God, in the midst of this tragedy, help us to be your light.