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July 25

Tuesday, July 25th, 2023

Our community is grieving. There is a lot said about living in a small town and not all of it is complimentary. The town I live in, Spencer, IN, is around 2300 people (depending, I suspect, on whom you talk to… 🙂 ). The county encompasses about 24,000 or so. People knocks small towns. “A lack of a night life.” “No place to hang.” “No business” (not true in our case as Cook Medical and Boston Scientific will attest). “No place to shop.” (Again, I beg to differ. We have one of the earliest WalMarts ever built I think. We call it our “itty bitty WalMart”). “No large church to attend.” (And that is a problem why?)

Sure, there are drawbacks. “Everyone knows everyone’s business.” (not really true actually). “Everybody gets up in your grill if you make a wrong move, get a divorce, etc.” (also not true)

But there are also big advantages. Think 2020 riots and protests. Nope. Think lock down. (to some extent but not nearly like the big cities). Think school curriculum. Think militancy. I think you get my drift.

Here’s another: our community is grieving.

This past Thursday evening, a high school senior died as a result of a one-car accident. Alcohol and drugs were not involved. No report has officially been made, but even then we don’t have the news hounds who are all over this story. But tonight for family, students, faculty, coaches, friends, neighbors, LEOs…all will be grieving as this young man is honored with a visitation and funeral at the local high school.  It will be a big one.

As chaplain of the Sheriff’s department, I know first hand how some have been affected. I know the young man who will be conducting the funeral, a relative of the family, and one who has become a friend. (He is bi-vocational). 

In September of 2011, Brett Wood was killed in Afghanistan by an IED. When his body was brought home to be buried just about the whole town turned out to line the streets in his honor. The procession went right by the church property which is on the outskirts of town and we suspended our worship service to line the highway to pay our respects.

I pastor a church in a small town. I’m proud of that and these are just two of the reasons why I would not want to be anywhere else nor have it any other way. And you know what? They may not even realize it, but they are practicing a Biblical principle. It’s true. I Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”

Our community is grieving. But we will grieve together.