The Grenfell Tower inquiry opened last week with tributes being paid to the 72 who lost their lives.
For the first time family members and friends of those who lost their lives were invited to share their thoughts and memories of their loved ones before the scrutiny process of the inquiry begins. Through tears and high emotion tributes were given and memories shared of those so precious and greatly missed.
Whole families perished that day along with both old and young caught up in the fire that engulfed the block of flats in such a short time. Parents spoke longingly of their lost children and youngsters read poems about their siblings and school friends.
This contrasts with the Hillsborough inquiry some years ago when the needs and sensitivities of the families were not considered as being relevant. This inquiry has rightly given the respect and deep regard we should all have for those who grieve. Though there were tears and deep sadness there were also words of warmth and gentle humour as lives were remembered and honoured in this way.
We heard the pain and sorrow of those who were caught up in this tragic loss of life and our hearts go out in sympathy and sorrow.
How much more then is God’s compassion to all who suffer the loss of those they love. Psalm 23 tells us of the Good Shepherd who even in the valley of the shadow of death will be with us. As history records, human failings often of titanic proportions sadly do occur and the Grenfell Tower disaster will rank among the most avoidable catastrophes in recent history.
This, of course, adds to the sufferings of those who mourn as it has already been revealed that there were serious flaws in the outer covering of the tower. Long after the inquiry ends the pain will we know continue and those affected will still bear the burden of sorrow.
Hopefully, having shared with us their memories will be a help in any healing process which we pray will begin for them. Jesus never gave us the assurance that we would be exempt from the losses and tragedies of life, but the certain promise that within such sufferings God would make His comfort and presence known to us. May those who mourn be cradled in the everlasting arms of God and may the peace of Christ be theirs.