On July 17, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired from eastern Ukraine. All 298 passengers and crew were killed, including 193 from the Netherlands and 28 from Australia. Several passengers were headed to the biennial Internatinal AIDS Conference is Melbourne, including Joep Lange and Jacqueline van Tongeren, two giants of the HIV research community. A lack of security at the crash site and delays in collecting and returning the bodies of the dead has added to the distress and grief of their loved ones.

And so we pray this news . . .

"May your circle of understanding and caring persons be many and may you allow them to support and sustain you in your sadness.

"May you rest your heartache in the compassionate arms of God each day and find comfort from this Enduring Love.

"May you welcome the tears you shed as friends of your soul, gifting you with an opening to release your pain.

"May disappointment, anger, guilt, or any other hurts that cling to you be acknowledged and set free.

"May you trust the hidden part of you where your resilience resides and remember often the inner strength your spirit contains.

"May you find the balance you need between activity and quiet so you can be attentive to your grief.

"May you be gentle and compassionate with yourself by caring well for your body, mind, and spirit.

"May you believe in your ability to eventually heal from your loss, no matter how much loneliness or desolation you now experience.

"May you have the necessary energy to focus on the details of life that must be done, in spite of how you feel.

"May the day come when memories of your departed one bring you more comfort than sadness.

"May the empty hollow in you grow less wide and deep as you receive touches of consolation and assurances of peace.

"May you be healed from your grief and extend your compassion generously to others who hurt.

"May you recognize when it is time for you to let go and move on, doing so when your grief has faded and you are ready to allow the past to be at rest.

"May you trust that love is stronger than death and draw comfort from the bond that unites you with your loved."

-- Joyce Rupp in Now That You've Gone Home: Courage and Comfort for Times of Grief

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