Summary: How to find hope in the midst of tragedy; a young boy murdered by two 12 year olds and a tragic death of a basketball star in a one week span.

Today’s message is a message of hope. Frederick Buechner, in his book, “The Longing for Home: Recollections and Reflections” writes:

If preachers decide to preach about hope, let them preach out of what they themselves hope for.

They hope that the words of their sermons may bring some measure of understanding and wholeness to the hearts of the people who hear them and to their own hearts. They hope that the public prayers they pray may be answered, and they hope the same for their private prayers and for the prayers of their congregations.

They hope that the somewhat moth-eaten hymns, the somewhat less than munificent offerings, and the somewhat perfunctory exchange of the peace may all be somehow acceptable in the sight of the one in whose name they are offered. They hope that the sacrament of bread and wine may be more than just a pious exercise.

They hope that all those who come faithfully to church Sunday after Sunday may find at least as much to feed their spirits there as they would find staying at home with a good book or getting into the fresh air for some exercise. At the heart of their hoping is the hope that God, whom all the shouting is about, really exists. And the heart of heart is Christ - the hope that he really is what for years they have been saying he is. That he really conquered sin and death. That in him and through him we also stand a chance of conquering them.

So today I do as Buechner says I am going to preach to you what I hope for myself as well as for Ephrata and for Memorial Christian Church.

This week the community, our small idyllic community has been shook to it’s core and my friends right now we need hope. Things like “that” aren’t suppose to happen here. Two deaths in such a small span of time, two losses of youth or if we think about it more—it is more than a loss of two children it is the loss of innocence for many and the stop to life as has been known.

I prayed Wednesday night and I prayed fervently and I prayed hard. I didn’t know if I should even approach this subject but as I prayed, I knew that this is not something that could be pushed aside or hidden in a closet. Our community is hurting, children in our larger community are hurting, and children within the community of Memorial Christian Church are suffering. Many have been touched.

Quincy lost a young man to an accident. He was a teenager that had so much going for him. He had nothing but the future to look toward. He was a basketball star, academically strong, he was popular, he was well liked and like many teenagers, he thought he was invincible. He could test the need for speed, he could push that car to see how fast it could go. Sadly he lost control and crashed. He lost his life. A brilliant dynamic life was taken from our midst. A brilliant life snuffed out too early. Our hearts ache for his family and for the Quincy community.

A 13 year old boy, Craig Sorger, he was not a child who had everything going for him. This is a child who not many knew his name and now we all know who he was. He was being integrated from special needs classes to mainstream classes. He was bright but he was different. He had only lived in this community a short time and was still trying to find a way to fit in and he was slowly beginning to make friends and find his place. His life was tragically and brutally ended. Not by an accident but by another’s hands.

It is easier for us to accept the death by an accident than by another’s hands. Our hearts pour out for both these families in their loss. Two young lives gone.

But it doesn’t end there. See we have other children involved. We must not forget the ones who committed the crime. Do we understand why it happened? No. Are we angry that it happened? Yes. But we must understand that someone else’s life has been destroyed, someone else’s family has been put on hold. We must also pray for the family of the boys involved who did this heinous act. In all honesty will we understand why it happened, probably not?

We as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles cannot come to grips with this. We walk around in horror. We walk around thankful that this was not one of our own. Saddened by the loss and the effects it takes upon our children and our families. Devastated that it happened here, we expect things like this to happen in LA, New York, Spokane, Seattle, the Tri-Cities but in Ephrata.

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