Here in the power of Christ

Published 1:00 pm Friday, April 7, 2023

There was a perceptible shadow of sadness over the Brentwood, TN area this past weekend. Four of our grandchildren call the city home, and our visits there always add warm memories to our memory bank. Not this time. As we entered the area, red ribbons were tied to numerous mail boxes, and signs and banners stretched across businesses with expressions of sorrow and condolences for the Covenant church. The crime was unthinkable. Six lives were extinguished by an assaulter with no particular victim in mind. Senseless killing, endless grief, unimaginable loss!

We attended the early church service Sunday morning, and the shadow hovered there, too. The music leader spoke of the heartache and grieving and led songs to help usher in hope that death had tried to smother. The words couldn’t have been more appropriate:

In Christ alone my hope is found

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He is my light, my strength, my song

This cornerstone, this solid ground

Firm through the fiercest drought and storm

What heights of love, what depths of peace

When fears are stilled, when striving cease

My comforter, my all in all

Here in the love of Christ I stand.

The pastor encouraged with words hemmed in the grief he was experiencing. Three of the six funeral services were to be held in this church. He selected the passage in John 11 describing the time Jesus attended a funeral – four days late and how He turned it into a resurrection service. The pastor shared the depths of Jesus weeping at the grave – “sobbing” as the Greek translates.

Yes, Jesus knows grief, His own and His children’s. And even in the unexplainable like these six deaths, we cling to Him and fix our hope on the eternal life that He came to earth to make possible.

As we left the Nashville area early Monday morning, the heavy clouds, promising rain and storms, reminded me of the clouds that would be waiting for all the waking families and friends that remembered the previous Monday. The weight of their sorrow had spilled onto me. The clouds and rain were appropriate.

Then I thought of the week ahead — Holy Week — Passion Week and the momentous triumph over sin and death. The suffering would come first, but Jesus would endure it “for the joy that was set before Him.”

The rains increased as I continued to think about what we had experienced that weekend, but I focused on the words of the music that God used to strengthen His children:

No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

‘Til He returns or calls me home

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS 39602.