The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
This is a hard week for our community. There are never words adequate to express the depths of grief and pain in the loss of a young person so unexpectedly. Whether you knew Jack Wiederstein or not, his loss will affect us all in different ways. And for some of us, it might resurface past grief or mental health struggles. As Pastor Dan shared in his note on Monday, if you are experiencing suicidal ideations, call or text 9-8-8. The 988 Lifeline provides 24/7 confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or mental health-related distress. Calling or texting 988 connects you to mental health professionals with the Lifeline network.
We want you to know that you are loved, that you belong, and that this world is a better place because you are in it.
This week, I’ve been thinking about the words of one of my favorite authors, the late Presbyterian minister and writer Frederick Buechner. In one of his most well-known quotes, he says this:
“The grace of God means something like: Here is your life. You might never have been, but you are because the party wouldn't have been complete without you. Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It's for you I created the universe. I love you.”
Buechner’s words remind me in my lowest moments that there is a place for me, even when I don’t think I belong. That I am loved, even when I don’t feel it. That God is with me, even when God seems distant. And that life is a mix of the beautiful and the terrible—and somehow, in that jumble, the grace of God is present. This week, in the midst of the terrible, I’m seeing the grace of God in the presence of a community that has come together to care for one another and support a family in the depths of pain and grief. I’m seeing the grace of God in the texts and calls from church members seeking to support their pastors as we seek to care for a family, a youth group, and a congregation in need. Thank you for continuing to embody that grace.
My prayer for all of us this week comes from the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians: may the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.