What can we think of God during tragic and terrible times? Is He cruel? People dying alone, with no loved ones around them. People forced to jump from high buildings to avoid being burned. People burned alive in ovens, How does God allow this misery and suffering. I don’t know. But maybe God is sometimes trying to get us to remember. We are created from the dust of the earth, but we are infused with love. And this is what we forget in normal times. During times like these we are forced to remember.
I saw that kind of amazing love on Sept 12 2001 in a New York City supermarket when a small girl shopping with her mother picked up a very delicious looking box of chocolates and dropped it into the shopping cart filled with bottled water. “Mommy,” she said “Maybe the firemen would like this candy along with the water”.
I saw it a few weeks ago in the first videos made by musicians, each singing or playing alone, but shown in a mosaic of talent and beauty. I saw it in the face of a woman who could not speak at all, when my wife and I delivered four bags of groceries to her home. She just shook her head and smiled through tears. “Your welcome”, I answered her.
I saw it when a soldier came off a plane and while walking through the terminal, heard people clapping and cheering. He turned about to see what famous celebrity was being honored, and it took him quite some time to realize the crowd was clapping for him. And there it was on his weary face, that long forgotten knowledge of love.
And 50 years later, I saw it in the respect and love shown to another veteran, arms and hands crippled by a booby trap bomb, as he stood and delivered a brilliant lecture on his own medical specialty.
I don’t know how to describe or characterize this type of love. I think it’s what Jesus meant when He told us to love our neighbors, and to love our enemies. That kind of love shows up in those terrible times of suffering and loss. It’s not the reason, God doesn’t make us suffer so we can remember that kind of love, but we do remember it at those times despite the suffering. Jesus prayed for forgiveness for his murderers as he died on the cross. It is that special love, the love that was infused into us by God the creator of all, that we remember today as we reach out, cry out, watch out, and wait for the inevitable glory, either in this world or the next that we know awaits us. And we know that when we do arrive at the world where there is no more suffering, toil or danger, we will hear a mighty chorus of joyous cheering, and we will know that all of that love is meant for us.