One of the priests ministering to families caught up in the horrific bus crash in Switzerland this week posed the question: "Has God left us?" In that small village, with so many families affected and awaiting news, that seems a very pertinent question. And yet it is one that is rarely heard spoken aloud. And certainly not by clergy. Though we all speak regularly of the mystery and perhaps even the hiddenness of God - that invisible deity is not the one we want to rely on in our darkness or the "ever present help in any trouble" to whom we want to point when life is cruel.
As we travel through Lent, eventually to Holy Week and follow the passion of Christ, we journey alongside a man who also experienced the abandonment of God.
In the darkness, resurrection is too far away to see or think on but the knowledge of accompaniment on the journey, companionship in the struggle does make a difference. If we cannot bring hope then at least we can help with the crying. That, too is a task of ministry - a task of humanity.