It began as a tough week with the shootings at Chardon High School. Three students dead. A community in shock and grief. Friday evening tornadoes ripped through parts of southern Indiana and Kentucky. Many are dead. Many more have no home to return to. One of the saddest stories to emerge was when a toddler was found wandering alone. Soon officials knew that everyone in this child’s family had died, and by Sunday, the young child’s injuries were too much for her little body to overcome. An entire family dead.
In the blink of an eye, life ended. In the blink of an eye, life changed.
Saturday, three young women on their way to Spring Break in Florida instead lost their lives on the highway when a driver hit them head on going the wrong way. In the blink of an eye, everything changed.
On Sunday morning we gathered in worship as we always do. Even without the tragic events of the past week, it is the sobering season of Lent. It is a time to be intentional about being people of faith. It’s time to step up — or slow down — our pace on the journey. Journeys take time. The journey of following Christ is lifelong. It’s an interesting contrast to the world in which we live where so much can happen in the blink of an eye.
It’s a contrast, but it’s not in conflict. Being on this lifelong journey — and taking time to really think about, reflect on, and go deeper into — is what prepares us to be among God’s first responders in emergencies, tragedies, and matters of life and death. We may not be paramedics or firefighters or ER doctors. But we possess gifts that can make all the difference in how people get through crisis, and those gifts are sometimes needed in the blink of an eye.
Prayer. Compassion. Sharing of resources. Loving our neighbor. Responding to a stranger. Working for justice and peace and fairness, not just in crisis times — at all times. Considering just what the world will look like for our children and grandchildren, for our Young Disciples, and for children who do not share in the bounty of strong family relationships and caring communities.
In the blink of an eye, our own lives could change. We are reminded of that when crisis hits close to home. We could be the ones in need of the compassion. We could be the ones grieving. But for now, we are the ones who are called to respond in the blink of an eye, from a lifetime of building up our faith.