Jamie Arpin-Ricci on The Good News
This entry is a part of an on-going blog series called The Good News, which is taking place throughout the Easter Season, from Easter to Pentecost. A full list of the contributors can be found here. Jamie’s local newspaper is the Winnipeg Free Press. Here is Jamie Arpin-Ricci on the Good News.
THE GOOD NEWS
This past Sunday I found myself in a place I could never have imagined possible. I received a call shortly after 11am. It was from Amy, a young woman from our church, informing me that her brother Andrew, a new Christians and recent addition to our community, had climbed seven stories up construction scaffolding and was threatening to jump. Being mere meters away from the site, I was the ï¬rst civilian on the scene. After a nearly 8 hour stand off, I watched helplessly as Andrew jumped to his death. I did my best to comfort Amy against the waves of shock and grief.
After what seemed an endless wait during the situation, the following hour rushed past us in a blur. I accompanied Amy to the hospital where we were able to see her brotherÊ¼s body, pray together and say goodbye. Before the hour was out, we were back in my home, where most of our church had already gathered to be with Amy. The reality of what had happen would take time to settle in for us all.
We knew Andrew had been battling mental health issues. While his recent embrace of faith in Jesus had a marked impact on him, we knew that he still needed to seek treatment and support from professional care givers. Sadly, he didn’t receive the help in time. In a break that plunged Andrew into fear and paranoia, his jump was not unlike those who jump to escape a burning building.
This is, perhaps, a strange experience to share when considering how I would explain the Good News of Jesus with my city. When someone takes their life in this way, we are faced with endless questions, self-doubt and strong emotions of all kinds. And yet, in the midst of this tragic loss and while never diminishing that loss, we do ï¬nd glimmers of hope.
We ï¬nd hope that in a life of loneliness and fear, Andrew found true community with his sister and the church in his last weeks. We ï¬nd hope in a small community of Christians who literally moved in together to love and support their sisterÊ¼s loss. We ï¬nd hope that we will see Andrew again, free from suffering and pain – whole as God intended him to be.
And where does this hope come from? From a deep mysterious conviction that God has conquered death and suffering through His Son Jesus, through whom we can ï¬nd freedom from sin, fullness of life in His Body – the Church – and a promise of eternal life where we will be together with Him and each other forever.
The brokenness and pain that results from this kind of event does not simply disappear in the face of this hope. And yet, knowing GodÊ¼s presence through His Spirit and the comfort of His people gives us the strength to face tomorrow regardless of our circumstances. And that is the Good News.
|Jamie Arpin-Ricci is a church planter and missionary pastor with his wife, Kim, in Winnipeg’s inner city community. He is the co-director of YWAM Urban Ministries Winnipeg, co-pastor of Little Flowers Community and a writer/blogger. He is currently in formation to become a Franciscan third order member of The Company of Jesus.|