Today we celebrate Independence Day, but for many, death has eclipsed this day. Nineteen firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hotshots died on Sunday, June 30. Our whole community came together on Tuesday, July 2 for a candlelight vigil. 5,000 people were present, not counting the hundreds perhaps at the nearby annual rodeo who also paid tribute to the firefighters in the arena.
Northern Arizona is a close community. What affects one affects others. Hate-mongers, like Westboro Baptist Church, tweeted that they intended to picket the memorials. This is not surprising, but what they intended for evil, God brought together an army of His own made up of, “police, firefighters , Marines, Army, Hells Angels, Latin Riders, Freedom Riders, normal people , young people, and old; you name it, we had it! (quoted from San Martin Rodriguez’s site).” Not only did this add a wall of protection for the families of the firefighters and those participating in showing their love to those families, but it served to remind the outside world of the love which comes from above.
To all those there for the purpose of protection, THANK YOU.
To those who do not understand the difference between Westboro Baptist Church and other Baptist Churches, it’s simple. Westboro does not follow the Bible. They are faux Christians, part of the devils work, to discredit legitimate Baptist churches. They are not a church, but a cult. I attend a Baptist church. We are not connected organizationally or theologically with Westboro as all other Baptist churches are not connected to that cult.
Attend a church service at other Baptist churches and you’ll see a huge difference in how people act and love. Yes, we are a tattered bunch of sinners who are struggling to not sin, to honor God by our words and actions, but we are nonetheless followers of Christ. We are a community connected to other like-minded churches, and when tragedy occurs, our pastors and ministry leaders come together to help a grieving community heal, not because it’s convenient, but because we love each other.
So today is a tough day and in spite of the fireworks in the sky or the smell of BBQ in the air, some widow is burying her head in a pillow and crying until her eyes are swollen. She’s living day-to-day, and wondering if this is all a dream. Friends of the fallen firefighters remember it was just last week that their comrades were full of life. A church friend shook hands after the Doce Fire with one of the fallen and now can’t believe that man is gone. Today remember the roots of our country, what our founding fathers fought for, and remember these 19.
Please write a prayer in the comments. I will post it on the Granite Mountain Hot Shots Site. Or you can post your comments here yourself. To the family and friends of the 19, you are in my prayers daily and will be everyday!