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CHURCH CORNER: God's will is life, not suffering and sorrow

The week before Easter, the most holy of Christian days. Through misty eyes, I sit stunned. Dear friends who worship with us part of the year just called to say their 11-year old grandson had died in a tragic accident. Two days short of his birthday and just a short time removed from major cancer surgery for his mother. Dear friends whose other 11-year-old grandson is in life-or-death need of a heart and lung transplant.  What sorrow and sadness has been poured out on that family.

At a time like this words lose their meaning. How do you fill an emptiness that can never be filled? Many of us have experienced the tragic loss of loved ones of all ages. And anyone who has experienced that loss knows the difficult struggle to try to move on in life.

Too often the “comforting” words misspoken are, “It was God’s will.” I can’t buy that. It wasn’t God’s will. For God’s will is never death. God’s will is always life, eternal life. God’s will is not suffering and sorrow. God’s will is peace and joy in the promise that God has shown us in an empty tomb. It is a promise that God will always be faithfully near us.

In Matthew’s gospel, the resurrection account that first Easter morning tells of an angel saying to the women at the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid…I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified…he has been raised…and is going ahead of you to Galilee…there you will see him.”

Galilee was the place they lived, the place they worked and played. The place they celebrated births and mourned deaths. Galilee was the place of everyday life. And Jesus would meet them there, in their everyday places of life. In their places of joy and their places of sadness. In their places of fear and their places of hope.

Our Galilees, the places we live out our lives, I think could be called Enumclaw of Galilee or Buckley of Galilee. For it is in these places that Jesus meets us in our everyday life experiences. In the midst of our sorrow and sadness, in the midst of our fear and uncertainty Jesus meets us and, if we listen, we can hear the angel’s words, do not be afraid.

In the Galilees of our lives Jesus meets us. To celebrate our times of joy and to cry with us in our times of tragedy. He meets us at Plateau Outreach Ministries helping those in need.  He meets us in our Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to hold us up. He meets us in the midst of our brokenness to shower us with grace. We need just look into the faces of those standing by us and with us to see him.

The Eastern Orthodox Church shares a wonderful Easter greeting. The people smile at each other and say, “Christ is alive, for I can see him in your face.”

As I look around our hometowns of Enumclaw of Galilee and Buckley of Galilee, I know Jesus meets us in our everyday lives. I know because I can see him in your face.

By Dan Wilson

Hope Lutheran Church

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