We gasp when the news comes,
punched in the gut with the sheer
madness of it..
We moan instinctively,
But mostly because words simply fail us.
What word can we possibly find
in any dictionary, of any language
for the slaughter of the innocents
in an elementary school in Connecticut?
Reporters, who traffic in words,
and fought to steady their voices.
One managed to say “It is an unimaginable horror that is beyond description”.
When police arrived after the shooting occurred, the surviving children were led out of Sandy Hook School. They were told to keep their eyes closed and hold hands as they were guided out of the school and to the firehouse. They were placed in one room and showed movies.
Parents were contacted through emergency channels and told to come to the firehouse. One by one over the course of a few hours, children were brought in to their parents. Welcomed with joyful embraces, tears and kisses, they then headed home with their parents.
The crowd of parents drew smaller. Finally, a moment came when the officials came in and said, “There will be no more reunions today.”
One person said the wails of anguish at that moment pierced the soul.
The world gets smaller in moments like this.
Our hearts break and ache with the Connecticut parents.
To paraphrase the poet,
‘No [one] is an island
Entire of itself….
Each [child’s] death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.’
To quote the President,
‘These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods;
These children are our children.’
In other words, we’re connected to the dead and surviving:
not primarily as Americans,
but as human beings..
And it is as human beings that this hurts.
Questions are whispered – or screamed-
….and at God.
We want answers.
We want it fixed.
We want to grab control.
We want to press meaning.
We want to make sure this never happens again.
In the scramble to understand or repair,
we simply must not look away
lean away from the ache.
We need to feel this horror in deep, painful ways.
Why? Because it has happened so often –
Wedgwood Baptist in Ft.Worth
and now Newtown /Sandy Hook
that I fear we are in danger of growing numb
to the fact that a man walked into a school with a gun
and murdered 5-year olds and school teachers.
These are not statistics,
nor pawns for policies
but precious, God-created persons
who died sudden & brutal deaths.
No, we must to feel this pain deeply, because to the degree that we lose the sense of the value of even one precious life,
our society is morally confused,
We must feel this pain deeply
because it’s part of facing the reality of our common brokenness
This is not normal.
This is not the way things are supposed to be..
Our wordless groaning joins “the whole creation that has been groaning right up to the present time…we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering.” (Rom.8:22-23).
Our groaning is a cry of pain
a longing for change
a prayer of hope.
We must feel this pain deeply
so we realize that the ultimate solution is beyond us
our increased vigilance
and our determination.
Such evil and violence arise from mangled hearts and twisted minds.
We simply can’t get that deep.
Only Jesus can.
Jesus, the One whose coming we mark in this season:
Prince of Peace,
Healer of broken hearts,
Liberator of captive minds,
Rescuer of wandering souls,
Lover of the children,
and Restorer of this sad, tarnished and broken world.
So, mourn the loss and feel the grief.
Weep the tears and scream your lament.
Run to Jesus and stay there.
It’s the only way to be fully human in the midst of stark inhumanity.