Last month in Melbourne, a young woman lost her life in tragic circumstances at the hands of another.
This touched the hearts and souls of thousands of people, who attended a mass vigil to commemorate her, and many of those of us who weren’t even there were affected by this tragedy.
Our collective human spirit helped us cope with the loss of a young woman who was unknown to many in life, but was embraced by us in death.
Eurydice was attacked and lost her life walking home from work, late at night. She could have been any one of us, and that’s why her death affected so many people.
“There but for the grace of God go I…” is a common saying in our English language, and it goes a long way towards explaining the mass outpouring of grief.
But amidst the sadness, people found strength in coming together and leaning upon each other, and everyone standing up and saying that these attacks simply must not be allowed to happen. There has been much soul-searching about how, as a society, we take steps so that other young women are safe as they go about their daily lives.
As a Christian, I saw the Holy Spirit coming into play as people hugged each other and in a group observed their vigil. One of the great benefits of our humanity is the ability to come together and support each other through crises.
From this tragedy, we hope that change can happen, and that everyone can feel safer and less vulnerable. Seeing opposing football teams full of fit young men linking arms and holding their own tribute at the site of the young woman’s death, and pledging to do what they could to make the world a safer place, was a heart-warming sight in the midst of grief.
And it reminded me of the words in Matthew’s Gospel, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mathew chapter 18, verse 20).
There is something about this quote that helps us through bad times, because it tells us that we are not alone and that God has our backs when we are trying to cope with enormous grief.
And the need to lean on each other and give what comfort we can also has roots in the Bible.
“We who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 17–18).
While we can’t change horrific events that occur in life, we can be there for each other and remember that the Lord is with us, in good times and in bad.