Were You There?

“I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled. – Jeremiah 4:23-25

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you a first hand witness that day?  Did you see the sky change from the most beautiful blue to the most horrible ashen grey?  Did you feel the earth quake as it rumbled under your feet?  Did you run? Did you cover your mouth and nose so you could breathe without inhaling the dust of destruction?  

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Or were you second hand witness, or a third or a fourth?  Did you get a call, see a picture?  Do you remember, as well as you remember yesterday, the first time you heard the story?  What image is burned into your mind from that terrible day? 

Ohhhh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.

This is your personal story, experienced in your own unique way.  Like Jeremiah, you can still see it, still feel the desolation. But unlike Jeremiah – who could find “no one at all” to share his experience – your story however terrible it may be, is all of our story. As you pause this day to remember, to call out the names of the lost, to mourn the death of innocence, know this. In the telling of your story, this one or any other, you never alone. In the horror and bewilderment of sudden violence, as well as in the slow resurrection work of rebuilding and healing to follow, you are never, never, never alone.

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?


Lord, we remember.  Amen.

dd-brownell.pngAbout the Author
Jennifer Brownell is the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Vancouver, Washington, and the author of Swim, Ride, Run, Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath, her inspiring memoir.