Easter brings images of rejoicing Christians celebrating the risen Christ. A gift of victory over death.
Though that same celebration will indeed come this Sunday, I have found that impending joy tempered by our current realities. Untold sadness is pervasive and deserves its place because it honors those who have died….likely without family at their bedside, without the solace owed such a holy time. However, God has provided these souls caring hands and the tears and prayers of healthcare providers, their “greens” often a last vision. Their Easter came early.
I have grappled with those visions mightily, and have no doubt most everyone has. All along, I have wanted people to be more “real” to me than becoming an abstract number. Not with an intrusive intent but with an intent to connect on a more human level. We do hear about the famous by name (with great loss in abilities and gifts they owned) but less about those not well known.
When 9/11 happened, I remember that Thanksgiving we set the table with place cards, as was often the case for holidays. On the back of each place card, I placed the name of a family who had lost someone that day. As we went around the table, naming our gratitudes, we also agreed to pray for that family by name.
So, here we are, at Easter, with an opportunity to honor families from all over the world by praying for them by name, for celebrating their loved one’s lives, by becoming a world united.
To that end I offer a few names I have found and ask you to join me in prayers for their families. There are many more online.
This, of course, in no way precludes prayers for those we don’t know by name.
From China, Liu Shouxiang, a watercolor painter and professor.
From Italy, Sergio-Bassi, a Folk singer-songwriter.
From Spain, Daniel Yuste, cyclist.
From United States, Michael McKinnell, architect.
From Sweden, Tomas Oneborg, photographer.
From France, Francois de Gaulle, Catholic priest and missionary.
From South Africa, Gita Ramjee, HIV prevention researcher.
From Pakistan, Usama Riaz, medical doctor.
From Zimbabwe, Zororo Makamba, journalist.
From Brazil, Naomi Munakata, conductor.
From Argentina, Juan Gimnez, comic book artist and illustrator.
From United Kingdom, Peter Sinclair, economist.
And many more.
We are an Easter people. Beloved.