Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Dealing with Death, continued

It has been a pretty tough few weeks for our Shrewsbury Church. In fact, by any worldly score it has been an absolute shocker.

There has been the death of a prominent member, and within our eldership team of three, Martin's brother, Terry's father in law and my grandfather have died, and then one of our teenagers, aged just thirteen took his own life, as reported here and here. The funeral was on friday, with 250-300 present, including many from his school.

It has been a really difficult road to walk, and shepherd the whole church family through. That is why my blogging went silent and my reports of the marriage course tailed off.

On the very Sunday we were having a members meeting to announce our decision regarding going to two services we had to announce the death of Darian, and Martin taught into the whole area of suicide and tragedy. We keep having meetings the like of which I have never known before. Such sadness and grief and yet such unity and strength.

Darian died on the Thursday. On the friday the youth meeting was going ahead as planned (we gather 60-70 teenagers every Friday for a loud and up tempo youth meeting). The youth were told (most knew as it was front page news in the local press that day), and then amongst worship, prayer, opportunity to write tributes, and through tears, lots of tears, from everyone, leader or youth, there was an opportunity to grieve.

What struck me most of all, was when Timothy, a younger teenager, went up to the microphone, and opened his bible, and read these verses which he felt God had prompted him to read.

From Psalm 62:
5 Find rest, O my soul, in God alone;
my hope comes from him.

6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.

I love seeing a generation of Christian young people who even in the darkest day of tragedy seek God through His word to bring comfort. It blew me away. I used that passage to start the Sunday morning worship as well: if God is going to speak so powerfully through the teenagers then I am definitely going to be listening.

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