One of the things that I enjoy doing at night is walking my pet yellow lab, Utley. At the end of the day and the peace of night time, it is a good time to reflect, pray, and plan ahead. It also is a time to give all six of our legs some exercise! One night, I decided to walk to the Flick home where Bradley Stone had murdered members of his ex-wife’s family, along with others, before taking his own life.
One thing that surprised me was how close the location was to my own home. It took less than 15 minutes for my dog and I to walk to the scene. As I walked, I wondered if the murderer had driven up my street and what his thoughts and feelings must have been as he prepared to do that terrible act. It truly felt like a violation to me and my own community.
Secondly, I was taken by the contrast that I found there. The Flick home was next to the end of a group of row homes. The home was dark and many memorials of candles, flowers, and notes were still on the front steps and porch, barely visible by the light of the street lights. I thought about the relationships and grief that were behind each of those items left behind. Then I looked at the house at the end of the row, one of its walls adjoining the Flick home.- I could see table lamps on and the flickering light provided by their television. I tried to think of neighbors trying to rebuild their lives after such a terrible catastrophe in this otherwise quiet block.
But even in the midst of quiet, sad, darkness I was reminded of the Christ of hope and life. At that moment, two of Jesus’ “I am” statements spoke anew to me: “I am the Light of the World” and “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” And then those words of promise that I had read to my congregation in the warmly embraced candlelit darkness of Christmas Eve, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it.”
Because of the Christ of the manger, cross, and empty tomb, we can both live in the light and share that light with others. In the case of this tragedy, I had the blessing to be at the memorial service at Souderton High School, where hundreds of students and other community folk gathered to pray, speak words of hope, and be in community together. The financial response to assist the victims (including the Stone children) has been encouraging.
Our world is one of both darkness and light. As the coming days of spring remind us as each day’s daylight gets longer, we are the Children of the Light. May we both receive and reflect that light! “May your light so shine that others may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
+ Pastor Dave Lutcher