Unrelated to our current sadness, someone on twitter posted this dreck: “Religion is for people who are afraid of going to hell. Spirituality is for those who have already been there.” My first comment was “Religion is for people who live in community.” Today, this week I know more than ever that power of not just community, but the religious community. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support on Twitter and on Facebook. We can criticize these venues all we like (and I like to) but this week it has been a way for family and friends around the world to share in our grief and bring us love and prayers.
I am often the first to remind folks how trite quoting scripture can be in the face of tragedy. Spending more than a dozen years working on Lamentations has that effect on you. Yet I know too that I need to hear the verses, I need to be reminded of God’s grace and the power of the resurrection. Over a year ago our town lost a beloved pastor. He wrote a final, beautiful column in the paper. I encourage you to read it again, as I did: Heaven is a Riot. I will not pretend to fully understand what happens when we die, but I will put my faith in Christ. I will not pretend to be happy, I am as angry and sick as I have ever been in my life, but I will try to put my faith in God. I remind myself, as I remind students in class, Job demanded a response from God. What God said, didn’t matter, it was the fact that he responded. We are waiting to hear from God. And we are, at least on some level, hearing him through our community of faith.
But I want our boy back.
25 thoughts on “The Power of the Religious Community”
Thanks for sharing Paul’s column. I continue to pray for you and your family that you might hear from God and that grace and peace might be extended to you. Words cannot begin to express how sorry and saddened we are.
I’m saddened for your loss, Christian. It is wonderful to see that many have rallied around your family at this time. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us. You remain in my prayers.
Dr. Brady, so many people in our community have been thinking about your family and grieving with you. People who had never even met your son have very heavy hearts—the collective grief and sadness that we all feel is pervasive and sobering. I am thankful that you are comforted by your faith, your church and academic communities, and each other.
I can only pray for you through the prayers of the church and the defeat of death I believe Christ has accomplished for us all. And to silently grieve with you as I can. As a father of two boys this brings me to tears from a distance. How it has wrenched your soul is a burden I cannot comprehend.
I’m heartbroken for you, Christian. You and your family will continue to remain in my prayers.
A profound and moving reflection. My prayers go out for you.
No words are sufficient, so I will offer prayers
My heart breaks with you. You and your family will continue to remain in our family’s prayers.
I am so sorry for your loss. May God greatly bless and comfort you and your family in the days and weeks ahead.
God is using your son to touch so many hearts. My heart just aches for your loss. It has opened my eyes to so many things. This community is praying for your family
We are so sorry for your loss. My nephew, Matthew McClintic has played sports with your son and is devastated by his sudden death, and so are we, even though we have not met. My heart breaks for you and your family. Your comments are inspiring and we are thankful that you have a community that supports your and your family at this time.
My thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family ever since I saw your post earlier this week. The insight that you have found a way to provide others through your own struggles is amazing.
Dr. Brady, we’ve met maybe once but your family’s loss has brought sadness and the absolute deepest of empathy from this community. I don’t know what you will hear from God but simply know that various layers of community, whether it be faith, work, schools, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and so on offers it’s voice and support to your family and to your boy.
Have been praying for your family during this time. Bill is my nephew and Kaye told me you were close friends. My our great Father comfort you and your family as only He can. Our Christian family is what we need all the time for love and support. They are God’s loving arms around us.
We can’t imagine what y’all are going through, but we know the power of God’s love and his grace. One day we will all be together in the most joyful, peaceful life that will be for eternity. Praying for all of you, extended family as well. Sending love to all.
As a father of 3 young kids, I cannot even imagine the pain and loss you must be feeling.
As a believer in a different monotheistic faith, I was touched by your words of submission to the higher being despite this incredible event.
I believe your son is in a better place by the grace of God and I will continue to pray for him as well.
Persevere through the loss…
I resonate with this, especially the last sentence. I pray that God, in his time, is very gracious and gentle with you as he works to heal.
What more can one say . . . ?