“We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. What a time for this scripture to come up in the lectionary readings. Those who die in the Lord are on everyone’s mind this week following the massacre at the 1st Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Senseless killing and senseless death are beyond the imagination of ordinary people. We don’t understand the kind of tormented soul who could commit such a heinous act. And we grieve the loss of so many who were loved by family and friends and who worshipped and trusted in God.
Quite often we want to rail at God for allowing such evil and pain to exist in the world. From our perspective, is it hard to remember that God does not consider physical death to be a tragedy. The ones who died are with the Lord they loved, but those who are left behind are experiencing an unbearable hole in their lives and a deep, deep sorrow at their loss. God is the ultimate comforter and healer. For most, the wounds will eventually heal, but the experience reminds us that life in this world is uncertain and we need to hold close those we love and never take for granted those whose lives are entwined with ours.