On Monday, August 5th, Sound of Heaven was honored to contribute to a candlelight vigil being held on the border of Deer Park and North Babylon, NY. During the week prior, a tragedy that shocked the local community occurred when a hit and run driver took the life of Ann Marie Christina (38), a mother of 2 small children (7, 10) Although the woman was not from the area, the Deer Park community moved quickly at the news of this horrible incident. Administrators of the Deer Park Unplugged Facebook page connected with the Christina family and got approval from the Town of Babylon to hold the vigil. Being active in the local community, we also reached out and in learning about the event were glad to offer prayer and worship. What transpired was emotional and difficult, but it was both powerful. Not an eye remained dry as family members, local clergy, dignitaries, and our team shared testimonies, inspiring words and ministered with encouragement to the flickering of many lit candles. It’s always amazing how we can toil and plan things to seemingly no end. Yet, in instances like this, a few people with determination and passion for a cause can organize a life-changing event in just a matter of days. That is a gift from God.
One of the most powerful parts of the night, for me, came just after the close of the vigil. An organizer came over and commended the SOH Worship team for doing an amazing job – and they absolutely did. This individual shared that when they heard of the hit and run, it ignited something in their heart. You see, years ago he lost a loved one to the injustice of murder. Having never experienced such a thing, I cannot even imagine the suffering involved to have someone close taken in that manner. The experience of pain felt in their own life, however, made it so they could not just sit back. He said, with tears in his eyes, “I couldn’t just do nothing.” This person recalled their own encounter with the unimaginable circumstance of a tragic, sudden end to a young life at the hands of someone else. The pain birthed a determination and that desire made an impact. Along with other concerned citizens, this inspired individual took action. Because of his passion to see a suffering family comforted, the news spread and many showed up to honor the life of a person that they never met. The family of the victim received love and kindness from our community, thanking those involved with sincere appreciation at it’s end. It was a moment of beauty amongst the ashes like the first sign of a green bud appearing after a forest fire. No one is claiming that an event like this can bring complete closure, but a few moments of concern and action can play a huge part in the process. I was truly touched by the thoughtfulness, passion, reverence, and gratitude of those who attended. It reminds me of the Scripture in Galatians Chapter 6, verse 2.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
The law of Christ is LOVE! Love includes taking on the mission of relieving the suffering of others.
None of us is exempt from tragedy. So much seems to be out of our control. What we can do, however, is exactly what happened here. Calamity struck one of us and we stood together. This event was birthed out of the pain of a loss long ago which a loved one didn’t want another family to suffer as they did in the midst of their own tragedy. That night I couldn’t get it all off my mind. I reached out to the organizer, commending them for a job well done and thanking them for being so open to sharing their story and passion. What they responded to my text message with will stay with me forever. He shared:
“If no good ever comes from a tragedy, it will forever only be a tragedy” – Chuck Sonnenberg
There are experiences in your life that have been negative, possibly just as tragic as we are discussing here. As difficult as it may be, God can turn a circumstance that you can’t change into the potential to bring peace, comfort, closure, even freedom to the lives of others. You know how “it” feels. You have been or are overcoming the challenge. Perhaps your healing is in helping others do the same. One of my favorite scriptures is out of Isaiah 58, verse 6-9. God speaks to Israel through Isaiah and says:
“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed[b] go free, and to break every yoke? 7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. 9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
You can take the struggles of your life an turn them into an inspiration for others to take a stand against injustice. You are here. You made it! Inspire others to find the strength to carry on. If not you… then who?
Jesus gives us all the opportunity to partake of the gift of eternal life. Through His sacrifice, we can be together forever. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. If you ask Him into your heart right now, He won’t deny you and will give you the strength to carry on. Pray: “God, I may make mistakes and I may not understand why things happen, but I put my trust in you. Jesus I want and I need you in my life. Be my Lord. Give me the strength to not only overcome the troubles in my life but to use my experience to make this world a better place.” God is listening and will use you in ways that you could never imagine.