Remembering the “Others” – Greg Albrecht
By Greg Albrecht
- Ara Zobayan,
- Sarah Chester,
- Payton Chester, (Sarah’s daughter)
- Christina Mauser,
- John Altobelli,
- Keri Altobelli,
- Alyssa Altobelli, (John and Keri’s daughter)
If you recognize any of these seven names it’s no doubt because of a horrific story we have been hearing for several days. They are the relatively unknown “others” in a list that includes two more names, one whose name has catapulted and cemented this tragedy into our hearts and minds.
- Kobe Bryant
- Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, (Kobe’s daughter)
These are the eight passengers and the pilot who lost their lives in the fatal helicopter crash this past Sunday morning, January 26, here in Southern California. Chances are you didn’t know Kobe Bryant personally, though you no doubt know about him and his accomplishments. Because he was so well known and adored and admired, millions grieve his loss and that of his 13-year-old daughter.
But what about the relatively “unknown” others who also lost their lives in this crash? Their loss is just as real though they are grieved by a much smaller number of people since they were not in the public eye as was Kobe Bryant. The loss and grief of “the others” experienced by their surviving family and friends is no less tragic.
What about the “others” in our lives? The “closer to home” a tragedy and loss is we naturally feel a deeper sense of grief and loss. Without detracting from the enormous loss being endured by the Bryant family and millions who “knew” him at some level, perhaps we can reflect for a moment on “the others.”
What about the “others” who are living out their last days on earth in hospice – and their families? What about the “others” – men and women in or out of uniform who live with crippling and debilitating injuries caused by the hatred and animosities of warfare? What about the “others” – wives, husbands, children and fathers and mothers who will today be informed their loved one died on the battlefield or in a car crash.
You and I probably don’t personally know anyone who is held in literal bondage by human traffickers. Sexual trafficking involves those who use force to coerce, trap and induce others to sell their bodies. Labor trafficking involves profiting from slaves who are brutally oppressed through abusive work in agriculture, factories, restaurants and cleaning services. An estimated 25 million people worldwide live as slaves. Although we don’t know, or think we know, anyone suffering in this way, their agony and misery is real.
What about the homeless? What about the impoverished? What about the addicts, addicted to oppressive bondage of many types? What about? What about?
Jesus tells us the sheep of his pasture “know” about, recognize and serve those who hurt and suffer. As Christ followers we can remember victims and the victimized whether they are visible or invisible to us. In Matthew 25 Jesus reminds us he is among and one of those who are diseased, hungry, wounded, grief-stricken, malnourished, alienated and incarcerated.
There is nothing wrong with singing happy songs on Sunday… or any other day. There is nothing wrong with attending a party and feasting and celebrating. But in the midst of it all, even as we see people walking by us on a busy city street … even as we pull up alongside another driver at a traffic light … even as share a bus or an airplane with other passengers … there is real and palpable suffering. May the empathetic mind of Jesus live in us in such a way that we remember in prayer those we don’t know, those whose tragedies we are not aware – the “others” whose names and faces we may not even know.
Whenever you did not of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me – you did it to me. – Matthew 25:40, The Message Bible
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. – Isaiah 40:1