caring for children through tragedy is a community effort

caring for children through tragedy is a community effort

Our community experienced a tragic blow.  Yesterday, as elementary school students were boarding buses at the end of the day, a bus jumped a curb, killing the principal and seriously injuring two students.  The reasons for the accident are still unclear. The loss is real.  The injury is real.  The grief is real.  The trauma is real. The reaction is immediate.  And it is lasting. There is no easy path.  There is a way forward. We pray for the family of Susan Jordan – the principal who was killed, for the two injured students and their families, for the children who were present, for faculty, staff and administration and for parents as they seek to guide their children through this experience. Merciful God, you give us the grace that helps in time of need.  Surround each person effected by this tragedy and lighten the burden of this time.  By the power of your Spirit, free each of us from distress.  Give a new mind and heart that we may live each day in your peace, a support to one another.  Amen. All schools in Lawrence Township are closed today.  I can only imagine the challenges faced by those who must find a way to address the grief of so many, plus carry on with education and care of children and faculty. Here is a sheet that describes responses of school-aged children to grief and trauma.  It gives clear examples of how to respond and what to say. As grief unfolds in a non-linear pattern, that would be good to return to in the months ahead.  Here it is in...
with gifts for the future of all people, God is here

with gifts for the future of all people, God is here

You’ve probably heard the witticism that goes: “If the three wise men had been three wise women, they would have asked for direction, arrived in time to help deliver the baby, brought diapers, a teething ring and a casserole.” However, these were wise men and they brought gold, frankincense and myrrh.  What made the givers wise was that these were gifts meant to be used in the future. Gold was a gift commonly given to a king, upon coronation.  We don’t know whether Mary and Joseph put the gold away in a hope chest for Jesus’ future or if they needed it to buy their safety through Egypt.  Gold indicates the esteem of the giver, because it is rare and has been purified in the refiner’s fire. Frankincense was used in worship to fill the temple with a fragrance meant to cleanse.  Worship at the time, including Jewish worship, was a smelly undertaking – the place filled with hard working people, animals before and after slaughter and the smoke of sacrifice.  Frankincense sweetened the labor of worship making it pleasing to God and to people. Myrrh was most often used as an embalming oil, to preserve a dead body.  Probably a disconcerting gift for a new parent to receive.  Mary might have been tempted to regift that one fairly quickly.  When Jesus really needed myrrh about 33 years later, it was three other wise women who provided it.  Mary Magdalen, Joann and Mary the mother of James, according to the gospel of Luke, came with the oils and spices, needed to take care for the executed body of Jesus....