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God's heart was the first to break

These were words written by Saskatchewan Conference President Krystal Sheremeta.  On Friday, the world shifted sideways for so many people here in the province of Saskatchewan.  Krystal can attest to that, as she ministers with the people of Nipawin, the town that was to host the semi-final hockey game that the Humbolt Broncos were on their way to when the unthinkable happened.  

We struggle to find the words to express our pain, to express our support for those closest to the loss in the wake of the death of 15 people and the physical injury of 14 others.  We try to wrap our heads around the fact that lives were cut short before these young men were able to acheive their life goals and dreams.  We stumble over the words of our immediate responses:  "our thoughts and prayers are with you", "I am so sorry", and "what a horrific situation" knowing that some how they come up short of how we are feeling.  

This tragedy has a ripple affect in our communities, in our country, pointing to just how connected we are in our province and  in our hockey communities.  Parents are hugging their children just that much tighter, hockey teams are taking the time to connect with one another and to reach out to others in support.  Churches are working to offer safe places for people to gather, grieve and be together in the midst of such strong emotions.  

And we wonder what we can do that can express how we feel, what we can do that goes beyond words and platitudes... 

Be present.  If you know someone affected by these deaths, be present and open to hearing their pain and grief.  Listen to stories.  Pray -- pray for those who are hurting so that they are encircled by support of strangers and friends alike.  Find ways to help... words of encouragement to clergy supporting the families and friends, donate blood, give of your time.  

More than anything, it is important to remember that among the grieving is God.  God weeps and hurts in the death of these people.  This is not in God's plan.  This was not pre-ordained or pre-planned or has some greater reason.  It was an accident, pure and simple.  And God's heart breaks along with ours.  

Just as God's heart breaks over the chemical bomb deaths in Syria, the deaths in Germany, the deaths and struggles of the indigenous peoples across Canada and the world.  

This devasting accident, the loss of young life, is close to home, and focuses our attention.  This is enough to deal with for now.  We are fully aware of the fact that there is pain in the rest of the world, but for now we are focused here.  And that's okay.  It's what we can deal with right now.  In time, we will move out from this localized grief, to again look at ways to support those who hurt across this world.  

For now, I leave you with Krystals words:

"Here in Saskatchewan where community is known in the hockey rink we take strength in God who is always present in community for the long walk ahead. And we will make it together.  One step at a time we will walk together taking turns sharing one another's burdens.  In all our communities, large and small, let us stand united in love.  As we offer care and compassion to all those affected, let our love lead us.  For today, we are all one team. And may the strength, courage and peace of our God Source of us all, be wuth you this day and forever more."



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Sunset United Church


Phone: 306-586-3613

177 Sunset Drive
Regina, SK, S4S 6Y7

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