Monday, October 5, 2015

Prayer Vigil Planned for Penn Ave Fire Victims


By now the tragedy that took three young lives needs no introduction.  This is the second such loss north Minneapolis has endured in recent years.  There will be more to elaborate on in regards to the landlord's potential culpability and what city policy responses may be needed.  For now, we grieve.

Yesterday I was pulling in all the remaining herbs and peppers from my garden, knowing it would the the last warm day on which I would have time to put these vegetables to use.  Ready or not, they were getting picked.  Whether the produce had fully become what it was meant to or not, it was coming off the vine.  I couldn't help but see the parallels between my garden and these three young lives lost.  Lost before they could become doctors or lawyers or athletes, community leaders, teachers, friends, parents, or so many other roles where they could have thrived.

Let's just say those plants got a little extra water while I was out there.

I don't have the words to say that might be of comfort.  And I've always found statements that it's part of God's plan or that the children are in a better place to be useless and even condescending.  But as a person of faith, there is one verse I keep coming back to at times like this...

Luke 10:27, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

And in a time of incomprehensible grief and pain, what is in my soul?  What does my heart say?  My heart, my sould, and my mind cry out for relief.  They question why this had to happen and what kind of God would allow it to happen.  And just like when we talk with our friends and loved ones when we are angry  with them, that anger and grief and confusion is what I bring before God.

When I do that, I come back to the second part of that verse, to love my neighbor as myself.  That becomes the only way I know to express my faith.  And that is what we are called to do for our neighbor.

So I hope you will join the us at a vigil service on Tuesday night.  It is at Hosley Memorial Christian Methodist Eposcopal Church at 1229 Logan Ave N, and begins at 6 p.m.  I spoke with the pastor there, Reverend Annie Hester.  A Go Fund Me account is being set up on behalf of the family, but a link was not ready at the time of publication as she is making sure the donations are being set up correctly.  She can be reached at 612-839-6164.

In the days and weeks that come, there will be a time to look at other elements of this unspeakable tragedy.  But tomorrow night we mark the passing of three young lives in shared sorrow.

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