Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Kirkwood City Hall shooting. It brought back memories of being in a church meeting at night, listening to hovering helicopters and sirens, going into lockdown, being fearful of an unknown menace a couple blocks away. Then cell phone calls trickling in from family feeding us news as it was released bit by bit on TV. Fear, shock, pain at the horror of a man possessed by evil executing loyal and loved city servants.
After the tragedy, members of our church and some residents of the community commissioned choral composer Joseph M. Martin to create a musical piece to promote healing and understanding. The resulting Canticle of Peace was performed by our choir at each of our four church services this morning. It was beautiful, the words gentle and comforting.
What could have resulted in hate, bitterness, anger, racial divisiveness – and those emotions did surface – was astonishingly turned into an opportunity to reach out, to try to understand, to love, and to heal together. What better way to remember an anniversary of a tragedy than to celebrate the goodness of the people who died and the way that good fruit can grow from blackened earth.
For anyone who is grieving a loss, remembering the good, remembering the love is the greatest tribute you can give to the one who has gone and surely the greatest pathway to healing. Remember the blessings, and let them temper the pain of loss.
“Peace, fall like a gentle snow.”