Like so many, my mind and soul is numb on this morning.......my heart hurts for all in the midst of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Words often feel inadequate. Who among us has not felt completely at a loss of what to speak in the midst of this world’s brokenness?
I found this quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer in the midst of my searching silence, “For Christians, the beginning of the day should not be burdened and haunted by the various kinds of concerns that they face during the day. The Lord stands above the new day, for God has made it. All restlessness, all impurity, all worry and anxiety flee before him. Therefore, in the early morning hours of the day, may our many thoughts and our many idle words be silent and may the first word and the first thought belong to the one to whom our whole life belongs.”
I remember well that day in April of 1999, when the Columbine High School shootings took place. Our staff had just completed our morning devotions. Helicopters began to swoop overhead and community sirens rang out. I spent the afternoon at the elementary school working with the FBI going over school bus rosters, class attendance lists, and releasing kids to their parents. When I went home that night, we still could not account for over fifty Columbine students. As we gathered the following night for a Prayer Vigil, we still did not know the names of those who had lost their lives. It seemed that chaos, cruelty, and despair ruled our lives. We clung to the hope that God was in the midst of this senselessness.
God was on the floor of Columbine High School with those students who had lost their lives. God was with their families. God was present in community. God was grieving and crying with us and for us. God was beginning the hard work of raising everyone up.
This much is true in Las Vegas right now. This will always be true wherever evil seeks to rush in and destroy life. Life and love will win. We the church are called to bear witness to that promise. The world is counting on us to come through. And if God is who God says God is in the person of Jesus, then we are free to bet our lives on him to bring life to all!
Knowing the world that we are raising our kids for and releasing them too, we have much work to do. We get to participate in making all things new. May our witness be one of life and love and service…..even in the face of the great challenges of violence that mark our days.
Peace and Hope,