Until now, I have been silent regarding the massacre in Newtown, CT because I have simply do not have words to describe the kind of evil that possessed that young man. I was and continue to be heart-broken, furious, disgusted - and those are the emotions I can express in words. I feel like crying and have throughout the weekend to think of precious babies being exposed to such malicious depravity. Being in the school system, I think, makes this even more of a horrible reality because you realize this could happen in any school - your school, my school. Then I begin putting names and faces, very personal names and faces, with who it could have been, and that is more than my soul can bear. It hurts my heart.
One of the blogs I subscribe to described it as a snatching away of innocence right here at Christmas - a time for celebrating the innocence of children. I think of it as the worst nightmare you can imagine and not being able to wake up from it. It's one of the things you wish you could "unsee" or "unthink."
Immediately I knew we had to do something - I had to do something. So yesterday, a few of us at our church took some time to pray for the families of the victims as well as the young man who was the perpetrator. The verse I shared with them is Psalm 34:18,
"The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
That is my prayer for everyone involved, even for those of us who are suffering from a distance, that we turn to Christ as He is the only one who can carry hurt like this. I have seen many posts on facebook about how we should let Christ back in our schools. If you think for one instance that He requires our permission to be in a school or that He was not in those classrooms in CT, then your God is not as big as mine. I think perhaps we as Christians should wake up and learn His character so that His words come out of our mouths and His actions are our actions. He is there - perhaps we should start listening.
I include myself in every part of this - so my challenge for myself and for anyone reading this is to stop and listen, to pray. Our prayer vigil was at 3:30 yesterday - so I am going to set an alarm on my phone for 3:30 pm everyday to stop and to pray for these families, for our nation, and that we remember that Christ is with us. I am asking anyone reading this to do the same - it can be anytime that works for you.
I also think we can honor those who lost their lives by celebrating the love and joy we have in our own lives - not to take any of our blessings for granted. To look at the children in your life and remember they are precious gifts from God.
I leave you with this -
Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins,they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.