Special Edition

Written by Pastor Aaron Decker. Posted in Light and Life

In Response to the Shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School

The shooting today in Connecticut has me rattled.  It is vital, I think, that the church have a response in the midst of the day's events.  We cannot ignore it.  And so, I want very much to proclaim gospel in the face of this disaster.

The problem is, the disaster is too big.  Not that God's good news isn't bigger; of course it is.  But the words for it seem inadequate.  I can express resurrection, new life, hope.  I know in my head and in my heart that Christ is more powerful, more potent than even this death.  My mouth can speak it.  But I don't know that my ears can hear it.

Instead, I find myself compelled to be like the Biblical character of Job.  Job, who suddenly found his life falling apart.  Job, who could find no reason for it.  Job, who called out to God, demanding an answer.  Why has this happened?  In the midst of all this, where are you, God?

The answer Job gets isn't satisfactory at all.  It seems that there is no reason.  Which, I fear, is the truth about today's tragedy, too.  We often want things to happen with some ultimate purpose, for God to have a plan at work.  But while I know God has a plan, it seems that sometimes things don't go according to plan, even for God.  For no good plan of a good God could involve this.

Job has a right to be angry.  And so do we.  Angry, and afraid, and despairing, and whatever else has bubbled up right now.

The good news in the story of Job isn't the contents of the answer.  It's that there is an answer.  It's that Job calls out to God, demanding He show himself.  And God hears.  And God is there.

Sometimes, we need to cry out to God.  We can be assured that God will hear us.  And that whatever it is we need to say to Him, it is okay.  Worries?  Sadness?  Fury?  God wants us to be able to say it.  God will hear.  God will answer.

And sometimes, God's trustworthy promise of healing and resurrection is too big for us to hear.  Maybe the fullness of the gospel can come later, but for now, perhaps God's promise of presence is more available.  Immanuel, God-with-us, has promised never to desert us.  To comfort us in our fear.  To grieve and mourn along side us.  To stir up action in response to anger.  To go on loving us, no matter what gets in the way.  Not even death.

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Aaron

Stir up your power, Lord Jesus, and come.  Come and be with the families of Newton, CT as they mourn.  Come and be with us as we worry about what is next.  Come and hear us as we demand answers.  Fill us with your love, for we need it so desperately today.  Amen.