Today We Grieve
Today we grieve. Today we must grieve.
Twenty-one of our children perished too young. Nineteen students and two teachers. Their parents, their families, their communities have lost incalculable and irreplaceable blessings. Malice has ripped away hope and joy from them. Murder has robbed them of an innocence and a security. These crimes, these evils, these sins have violated our world and deprived our future of untold wonders.
It should not have happened. We should have prevented it and everything that contributed to it. We should have protected them, especially because it has happened before. No one ought ever to regard children or any neighbor as disposable. Almighty God has not intended humankind to perpetrate such atrocities. These wrongs leave His own heart weeping and bleeding.
“How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37)
These offenses have stirred Him not only to anger but also to action.
What makes abortion, euthanasia, and embryocide reprehensible also makes this situation wretched. Victimizing the vulnerable and deliberately ending human life is always unnecessary injustice. We might even consider how allowing abortion and physician-assisted suicide has accustomed our culture to a viewpoint that some persons have less worth than us or others and has encouraged or at least enabled other massacres. We might likewise contemplate whether the proliferation and glorification of firearms has facilitated these tragedies. Whatever the dangers of possessing a weapon, one does not take life just by having a gun. The same does not hold true for abortion.
Today we must grieve, but not today only. No amount of outrage and shaming will solve the problem. The failure here does not lie ultimately with laws or leaders alone. We need more than new policies or better persuading. Banning guns will not stop hostilities and homicides. A killer who has no pistol will pick up a blade or a brick or a stick and attack with fists and fingers. Nor can criminalizing scalpels and pharmaceuticals discontinue abortions. The defect and the disorder reside in sinful human nature.
“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness” (Mark 7:22).
Murderers do not amount to monsters—that is, no more so than the rest of us. They commit the offenses we all at one time or another wish we could. They only implement the same impulses we each nurse in our attitudes and imaginations. Their consistency of thought and act does them in while only our felicitous hypocrisy delivers us from imitating them. Our comparing, competing, and contempt; our frightened and furious political, ethical, and even religious rhetoric; our loathing this neighbor and neglecting that one: These dehumanize those around us no less than a school shooter does. Either we are all human—worthy of respect, entitled to protection—or none of us is.
And indeed only this reality can treat these wounds and right these wrongs. The Heavenly Father’s work of creating proclaims every human life special. The Incarnate Savior’s labor of redeeming proves every human being precious. The Lord God’s activity of incorporating into His kingdom and family pronounces every human person priceless. Each member of our race belongs to Him as beloved treasure from fertilization to forever. His grace, favor, forgiveness, and salvation give worth and purpose to everyone, no matter what their origin, age, appearance, or ability. When we receive our sanctity and significance from Him, we no longer need to seize it from each other or anyone else.
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
Today we must grieve, but not grieve only. God has come and Jesus is Lord. He has served and died for us. Christ is risen and lives with us. He will come again and evermore. Let us believe it, behold, and be held by Him, with changed hearts and changed behavior. Let us declare God’s truth and display Christ’s love. Let us engage neighbors with courage and treat them with compassion, especially the injured and endangered ones. Let us pray for their survival, salvation, relief, and recovery, and let us put it into tangible practice. Let us open ears and hearts, hands and homes to share life, one at a time, with the one in need and the one right in front of us. And let us wait, beg, and work for the day when we no longer represent threats to one other.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away … ‘Behold, I am making all things new’” (Rev. 21:4-5).