When our own words fail us, remember his
What does one say in the aftermath of a tragedy like the one we experienced in Newtown, Conn., last week? Silence seems to be a good alternative. There are no words that will make sense of a senseless act of violence. There is just shock and anger and fear in its aftermath.
It doesn’t matter whether or not we knew anyone in Newtown or had ever even been near that place, we are all part of a nation that is grieving deep loss and suffering intense heartbreak.
How does one talk about the coming joy of Christmas when we are made afraid by gunfire in the air (sometimes even in our own community) and we are stunned in the knowledge innocent blood has been spilled onto the ground? We might talk like Mary and Martha did when their brother Lazarus died. Jesus arrived four days later and the sisters said to him, “If you had been here Lord my brother would not have died.”
How does one talk of hope in this season of Advent now stained with human loss and deeply scarred by tragedy? We might talk as the prophet Zephaniah does — “The king of Israel is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more ... do not fear and do not let your hands grow weak ... I will remove disaster from you.”
We might speak as the Apostle Paul does — “The Lord is near. Don’t worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
We might sing as Isaiah does — “Surely God is my salvation, I will trust and will not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and my might ... Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
The devil came to town at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Evil visited the community there. Yet, the Lord is near! A holy child is about to be born in the middle of a cold night in Bethlehem. And, for those who grieve today, the Lord is here! Jesus arrived and spoke a word bringing Lazarus out of the tomb. Yes, the Lord is in our midst!
How does one speak in the aftermath of tragedy? We speak as God speaks to us and in so doing the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. We can trust and not be afraid for the Lord God is our strength.