Hannah Graham

Posted by on Sep 30, 2014 in Love, Religion and spirituality, Venues, Weddings | 0 comments

Hannah Graham

Dear Engaged Couple—This past Friday, I pulled into Pippin Hill’s parking lot and through my windshield saw directly in front of my car, walking in the grass, two police officers and a search dog.  The dog looked to me, more like a vicious wolf than a dog.  Big enough, mean- looking enough to devour a Little Red Riding Hood for sure.  The police officers and the wolf-dog made an intimidating trio. They walked along the outskirts of a wooded area that abuts the parking area.  No doubt about it.  They were looking for Hannah Graham.

Wedding Rehearsal at the lovely Pippin Hill

Wedding Rehearsal at the lovely Pippin Hill

Pippin Hill, located twenty minutes from Charlottesville, is an almost beyond-lovely vineyard that caters to couples who want to marry.  From Pippin Hill’s tasting room veranda, visitors have a breathtaking view of the Shenandoah Mountains and Pippin Hill’s expansive green lawns.  Pippin Hill’s tasting room is attractively decorated and its ballroom is big enough to accommodate even a very large wedding reception.

And yet, near this exquisite vineyard, it could be that Hannah Graham’s body will finally be discovered.  If so, Hannah Graham will never have the opportunity to fall in love and marry.  The contrast was immediate and almost debilitating to me. I could not open my car door.  I sat and watched the trio as they entered the wooded area.  As I did so,  I prayed for the young woman and her family.

I am a pastor.  It occurs to me, that a less religious person might accuse God of unwarranted cruelty. Surely Hannah did not deserve this!   If God is love, then how could God allow the Hannah Graham tragedy?  I used to be a fist-shaking-at-God, skeptic myself.  It is one reason I went to seminary.  I wanted to explore a faithful answer to the question, “Why, God?”  As other theologians who are much more astute than I, I finally embraced and continue to embrace, the notion that God never wills suffering.  God is crying for and (hopefully with) Hannah Graham .  William Sloan Coffin, a theologian of the late 20th century eloquently suggested after his son’s car slid into a raging river and the boy subsequently perished:  “God’s tears were the first to fall.”  God must be crying buckets of tears right now for Hannah and her family, and her many, many friends.  And still,  perhaps God loves her best of all.  Your Wedding Preacher for Hire.

Sign at Charlottesville car wash--"Find Hannah Graham"

Sign at Charlottesville car wash–“Find Hannah Graham”


Your Wedding Preacher for Hire






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