In Response to Newtown

“The Light Shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” –John 1:5, So we began our prayers this Sunday. We prayed together in the darkness for the 26 lives lost in Newtown, CT. We thanked God for the work of police officers, and all those who continue to help the community. We asked for healing for all those affected by the tragedy, and we cried out to God to save us from the violence of our culture.

And then we lit three candles, three little signs of hope -signs of light in the darkness, leading us to long for God’s great light and love.

Some have asked, “Why this tragedy? Why these lost lives? Do we not lose innocent children every week to war and violence?”  And the question is a good one. These lost children affected us as a nation, and we rightly mourn them. But every week, innocent children are killed by war and guns, malnutrition and illness.   Should we not begin every worship service with a prayer for them?

Ah, but we do! Every Sunday we sing the “Kyrie.” The words mean Lord have mercy! Christ have mercy!  Sometimes we forget, because we like the music or become familiar with the pattern, that every week this is a desperate cry to God for the lives lost, wars fought, tragedies suffered, injustices, famine, illness… Every week we include prayers for these at the beginning of worship.

And then we read Scripture, have a meal together, worship the God of unconditional grace, and are sent out into the world to live in love, and make it a better, more peaceful, place -to spread the light in the darkness.

One more thing I need you to know, dear ones. There are some out there, some who bear the title  “preacher,” who are saying blasphemous things about our God. I won’t link to them here, but you have heard these so-call “Christians,” implying that God has either allowed or caused this tragedy because schools no longer pray in public, or because of the kind of marriages we allow, or any other such nonsense. And I want to say clearly and with my full pastoral authority:

Any so-called “god” who would kill children to punish us for not paying enough attention to him is demonic, and not the true God we know in Jesus Christ. If there were such a deity, we would call him an idol, and rightly refuse to worship him. The God we know and worship and love does not ever, ever, want the murder of innocent children. The God we know in Jesus loves the little children, and calls all people to live in peace, love, and wholeness. 

The world only knows this if we tell it! Spread your light, people of Grace. Tell the world that even when times are dark, we light candles, because we know a God of love. Shine for the world to see!

In Christ’s light,
Pastor Lura