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Christopher ParkerMay 05, 2023
Photo by Phil, courtesy of Unsplash.

A Reflection for Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (Jn 14:1-3)

Rooms for Charles Earl Westbrook, 28, who died two and a half hours into the year 2023 in Columbus, Ohio, a victim of the first mass shooting of 2023 in the United States.

Rooms for Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Julisa Molina Rivera, 31; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, 8 years old; all migrants from Honduras shot and killed one week ago in Cleveland, Tex., by their neighbor.

Rooms for the three or more women killed every day by their domestic partners, as estimated by Emory University’s Nia Project.

Rooms for the women who died from complications of childbirth in 2020 at a rate of one every two minutes; according to the World Health Organization, 95 percent of those deaths occur in low and lower-middle income countries.

Rooms for 144 residents of Florida killed last September by Hurricane Ian, one of the worst storms ever to hit the state.

Hope is how we face death and destruction. It unites us across political and religious fissures that otherwise seem too huge to traverse.

Rooms for the thousands succumbing each year to drought and famine in a changing climate across the world.

Rooms for Tyre Nichols, beaten to death in January by police in Memphis, Tenn.

Rooms for Kevin Johnson, sentenced to death and executed by the state of Missouri in late November, 2022.

Rooms for the young victims of suicide in the L.G.B.T.Q. community, children for whom religious affiliation creates a higher risk for suicidal thoughts or ideation within a group that already disproportionately struggles with questions of suicide.

Rooms for the middle-aged white men, who suffer the highest rates of suicide in the country; white men made up 69.68% of U.S. suicide deaths in 2020, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Rooms for anyone lost during the pandemic. Rooms for the medical workers who gave lives taking care of them.

Rooms for those killed in the tragedies that will inevitably strike in the hours between my completion of this draft and the time it goes live on our website.

These rooms are the hope of Christianity, that each person’s death means a reunion with the one who created them. Hope is how we face death and destruction. It unites us across political and religious fissures that otherwise seem too huge to traverse.

We turn to hope in times of grief and hope we can be worthy of it.

More: Scripture

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