Many-many people in Britain will this week have shed a tear. Shed a tear in memory of the 116 young children, of Aberfan who lost their lives 50 years ago in a tragedy beyond comprehension. Little boys and girls who had their future smashed, smothered, and snatched away in a instant of heartbreaking horror. That was despite the efforts of village rescuers trying to save them, digging through rubble with bare hands, household shovels or any available pickaxes.
Since that fateful day on October 21st, their parents, brothers and sisters, and family will have shed many tears as they lived their lives in the shadow of these uncalled-for deaths when the youngsters were at school, a normal place of safety.
All parents everywhere, even if they have never experienced it, will fully comprehend the never ending pain that would come with the loss of a child, particularly a very young one. Those from Aberfan suffering will carry that burden of pain, grief, and memories until they day they are also called to meet their maker. We ourselves can only grieve for and with them, can’t we?
The worst thing perhaps for our society to live with here is that it was not a natural tragedy of nature, and goodness knows there is enough of them occurring around the World, aren’t there?. No, this was an avoidable man-made disaster, albeit unintentional, brought about by extreme negligence – yet nobody and not one person responsible was punished or will be.
The only ones who have suffered, and suffered unbearably, are the people of Aberfan.
Aberfan as a community has lost a generation.
Some people, particularly the non-religious or non-Christian, struggle to understand such a dreadful happening and will ask “where was God?” or “why did God allow this to happen?”if God is a merciful and loving, all powerful and knowing creator. Some clerics and pious groups respond to say that all disasters are a punishment against sin and point to biblical examples like the plagues and the flood. However, the truth is that there is no logical answer or explanation to the question, other than that the real point that we all have to accept is that the World and nature has been created for an eternity, so provides self determination for mankind and a degree of uncertainty.
Many find that God is in fact there to help alleviate their suffering following such events.
A poignant remembrance hymn by a vicar coupled with Aberfan is reproduced for you to ponder, below this blog.
[BACKGROUND: In wet weather, a build-up of water in a colliery coal waste spoilt tip overlooking the small South Wales mining village of Aberfan suffered a catastrophic collapse, causing a downhill slurry slide of more than a million cubic feet of material, that in minutes engulfed properties and the classrooms of a junior school killing children and teachers and other adults – a total of 144 lost their lives]
“God who knows our darkest moments”
God who knows our darkest moments
meets us in our brokenness:
walks beside us as a whisper,
holds our pain in his caress.
God, who leads through shadowed valleys,
where death’s bleakness dims our sight,
speaks a peace beyond our knowing,
floods our anguish with his light.
Far beyond our grief’s horizon,
as Creation holds its breath:
Love Divine, revealed in Jesus,
tears apart the chains of death.
Servant son and humble healer,
by your cross and life laid down
you have carried all our suff’ring
and you wear the victor’s crown.
Lift us up, now, risen Saviour
to the place where mercy plays,
where our broken hopes and heartache
find their healing in your gaze.
This is love, that God has saved us!
This is love, that Christ has died!
We rejoice that love has conquered
and has drawn us to your side.
(Copyright 2016 © Gareth Hill Publishing/Song Solutions CopyCare, 14 Horsted Square, Uckfield, TN22)