Jump directly to the Content
Jump directly to the Content

Sermon Illustrations

Home > Sermon Illustrations

Ambulance Driver Reflects on Newtown Tragedy

[Shortly after Christmas 2012], I addressed the New England town of Newtown, Connecticut, a community reeling from the murder of 20 schoolchildren and 6 teachers and staff just days prior. An ambulance driver captured the mood in Newtown well. "All of us on the fire and ambulance corps are volunteers," he told me. "We don't train for something like this—nobody does. And my wife is a teacher at Sandy Hook. She knew all 20 children by name as well as the staff. After hiding out during the carnage, she had to walk past the bodies of her colleagues in the hallway."

He paused to control his voice, then continued:

Everyone experiences grief …. Usually, though, you bear grief as if in a bubble. You go to the grocery store. You go back to work. Eventually that outer world takes over more of you, and the grief begins to shrink. Here in Newtown, we go to the store and see memorials to the victims. We walk down the street and see markers on the porches of those who lost a child. It's like a bell jar has been placed over the town, with all the oxygen pumped out. We can't breathe for the grief.

Related Sermon Illustrations

Man Saddened that Friends Can't Share His Grief

The British novelist Julian Barnes tried to capture the loneliness of what he calls "grief-work." After thirty years of marriage, his wife Pat died from a brain tumor. Barnes was struck ...

[Read More]

Jewish 'Shiva' Practice Helps Loved Ones Grieve

After witnessing firsthand the devastating effects of civil war, oppressive regimes, and natural disasters, Palmer Chichen has observed that the Hebrew people have a special way of ...

[Read More]