So as I was driving home this afternoon I heard on the radio that basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash. Now, I’m not even a big sports guy (or a sports guy at all of any level), but I know who Kobe Bryant is as he isn’t just a basketball player (and a darn good one at that), but sort of a pop culture icon as well. So news of this death when far and wide and many will be in mourning.
And of course, there are those on the internet that will choose to be more cynical about this. There will be those who would refuse to acknowledge the death of a professional athlete who made obscene amounts of money (or at least, more than them). There will be those who will look at this situation of a wealthy man’s private helicopter crashing with him, his 16-year-old daughter, and two other passengers in it, and chalk it up to karma or some other kind of nonsensical definition of justice.
But I will refuse to fall into that camp. For someone has died. A husband, a father, a friend, a role model to many. Regardless of what his paycheque looks like of the size of his estate, we are all the same at the point of death, and that is that our loved ones will mourn, our presence will be missed, the world will be different without us in it.
It is a sad day. My heart goes out to the Bryant family and all who mourn.
It’s times like these, as in times of death, when I more clearly see the need for God’s promises of love and blessing. It’s in times of mourning where it becomes more apparent that we need some assuredness of some type of good news. It’s in the times when we face our own mortality and that of our loved ones that we wonder about what is left and what life even means.
And thanks be to God, we get answers through scripture and community.
This week we get the Beatitudes as according to Matthew, and personally, this is what I needed to hear. I am reminded that while we all live different lives, we are blessed. While we all come from different backgrounds and diverse cultures, we are all blessed. While we have different life circumstances, different birth and upbringing stories, and certainly different causes of death, we are all blessed.
We all live, and we all die. We are all loved, and we will all be missed. But we are all also blessed and brought into community as God’s children, connected with each other and all the saints and brought the everlasting story of God’s presence and work in the world.
Death is indeed sad as we miss those whom we have lost. But even in death we see love, we see love, we see the blessedness of God’s promises and joy in God’s name.
Rest in Peace, Kobe. You’ll be missed.