A Pastor’s Response to Sandy Hook

(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
(AP Photo/Jessica Hill)

Friends,

I’m sitting at the kitchen table in the parsonage having just finished my lunch. The tears stream from my face as I listen to the reports from Connecticut. The faces of our own children, fresh in my mind from the Winter Concert last night, flash through my mind. What if? What if it were my child or your child or my yet to be conceived grandchild? I wonder. Then I attempt to shove that awful thought deep inside but it just comes out in tears.

This is an unspeakable tragedy. We are biologically hard-wired to protect and care for our young. The reality, however, is that we cannot always do so. When something like this happens we feel shock at the event and we feel empathy and compassion for all those involved. Sometimes we feel anger at the perpetrator.

Now is the time for each of us to pause and to pray. When you feel the gift of tears and shock at such a heinous act, pause and pray. Ask for God’s peace for those involved. Ask for God’s peace for yourself. Rail against God that it happened if that is how you feel. God loves you and knows your feelings.

I am convinced that God is weeping and sobbing with us over this tragedy. We serve the One who loves extravagantly, the One who came as a baby, and the One who overcomes even death. Though this shooting is NOT the will of God, our love for one another is a sign that even evil cannot destroy good. The God we know has those teachers and those babies wrapped in God’s loving arms even now. The love of God in Jesus Christ will always win.

And because the realm of God on earth is not yet complete, because it still unfolds in this broken, fragmented world, hug your child a little closer today. Smile at the stranger. Forgive that which we may not have forgiven yesterday. For when we do these small kindnesses — and bigger kindnesses — we are participating in God’s unfolding realm. Be Christ’s love. With God’s help love will overcome even death in an elementary school.

God of Life,

We ache. We are outraged and angry. Who shoots school children?!!?? We know that those killed are in your arms now. We know that you sob with those who are mourning. We know that you never will this kind of thing to happen. Heal all those directly and indirectly effected by the tragedy today. We pray for the souls lost including the perpetrator. In your wisdom and grace touch us and help us to do your will in each and every moment. Help us to be your love. Amen.

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