Each of us feels a deep sense of sadness at the recent tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. Even as we watch the images on TV or the computer, it is difficult to understand the magnitude and power of the storm. We are thankful that, at the time of writing, only 24 people have been killed, and we know that the buildings can be restored, the community can be strengthened, and the faith community will be helpful. Yet that word ‘only’ gets to me, for there is an extended family and community beyond those who were killed.

We all know that Jesus said, “Blessed as those who mourn,” and we struggle with that text. What does it really mean? In his book, “The Beatitudes for Today,” James C. Howell reflects upon these words of Jesus.

He notes that Yale philosopher Nicolas Wolterstorff lost his 25 year old son who fell during a mountain climb. He said, “The wound is no longer raw. But it has not disappeared.  That is how it should be. If he was worth loving, he was worth grieving over. Every lament is a love song.”

Now Jesus did add, “For they shall be comforted.” What does this mean? God loves, and gives us not this or that, but something immeasurably wonderful in value. “The Spirit is God, the Spirit is love and the Spirit comforts me not with any THING but with the Holy Spirit.

So we pray for all the families who need Christ’s presence today, and we hope that their journey may become one of healing.

(“The Beatitudes for Today” – James C. Howell; WJK 2006)