It is hard to know how to respond when terrible events happen, like the horrific shooting in Las Vegas this week. How are we even to comprehend this? This is not a terrorist attack, apparently, and the murderer gave no indication of motive. All we can say is that this is a clear expression of evil. That puts us in the realm of theology without a political or psychological rationale.
And yet, in truth, is there any difference between this act of murder and a similar act where we have a stated motive? The only difference I can think of is that we cannot attack another country or another group to reduce our fear. We are left with nothing but our faith and our fears. So, which will guide us in the days and weeks to come: Faith or fear?
We held a prayer vigil at St. Dustan’s Church on Wednesday evening to give our neighbors and our members an opportunity to pray and grieve together. Sharing in grief is one of the most important things we can do as a church. Funerals are important. We should attend funerals for friends and aquaintences just as much as we attend weddings and baptisms. When we share our grief and our joy in intentional acts of worship and celebration, we are strengthened and encouraged.
I don’t know of any way to end the violence we are experiencing in our country these past several years. Solutions that seemed obvious at one time have never been successfully implemented, and may not have helped anyway. Very well intentioned and well informed people hold very different ideas about what can or should be done. I take hope in that.
We come together to pray and to grieve, and then we go on with our lives. The prayers and the shared rituals make us stronger and more resilient. With this strength and resilience we can work for a better world. We choose faith over fear. Trust in God and do everything we can to end the violence.
Yours in Christ,