"It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart." Ecclesiastes 7:2
I am sure by now everyone is aware of the tragedy that struck our region over the weekend when a man opened fire at a mall that is less than 20 minutes from my home. I had actually been over to that mall the same day to buy a gift for my wife's birthday so this obviously hits very close to home. I found out about the shooting while we were celebrating my wife's birthday party. The next day I attended the vigil that was held at Cottonwood Creek Church. The above verse came to mind as I had to shift from celebration to mourning. Why is it better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting? We all want to be at a good party but a vigil...that doesn't sound like a fun invitation.
For the past two days I have gone to the memorial set up at the Allen Outlets to pray with people who are visiting it. 99.9% of the people who come to the memorial have no direct connection to the victims and yet they weep and take time out of their day to leave a teddy bear for the deceased children or leave roses for strangers. I watched a local restaurant handing out water bottles and chips and salsa for visitors. I saw chaplains and pastors from other denominations offer to pray with people. I saw every race and age present at this place. And it became clear to me why it is better to visit a house of mourning. We are all mortal and we are all destined for the grave this is something that cuts across every dividing line. It is easy to ignore this fact when we are eating and drinking but when we keep vigil at a memorial the reality sinks in and walls come down. And as we watch the brokenhearted come together we actually see God's Kingdom more clearly and the Holy Spirit speaks to hearts that were at one time completely closed off to him. I am sure that most of the people being prayed with do not go to church and do not have a pastor.
Christians, this is why it is better to go to a house of mourning because that's where Jesus would go.

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