ANOTHER MASSACRE, SUTHERLAND SPRINGS CHURCH
I am tired of writing letters and blogs making statements regarding our position on these kinds of tragic events. As a result of the last shooting in the Texas church, we brace ourselves, scrambling for answers. But the answers given weren’t satisfying to us in past, are still not satisfying. In fact, we find ourselves to be discouraged even more.
As we enter into the holiday season, there is no sense of “break” regarding these kinds of events.
The prince of darkness and the kingdoms of this world are working hard. Because of this, Paul said that we groan inwardly as we wait outwardly.
Sadness. Fear. Questions.
I understand this.
In our confusion, we hold onto the words that Paul gives in Romans 8. He promises the depth of suffering we bear today is no comparison to the glory that will be presented to us through the ministry of the Son of God. In other words, ours is an outlook of hope: THINGS WILL NOT ALWAYS BE THIS WAY.
So we wait… actively wait.
Paul says, we wait, like a woman who is in the middle of pregnancy…
Anticipation. Pregnancy. A new baby. What a beautiful metaphor.
One of the best shows that has ever been on television is the old 1970’s sit-com MASH; a series based on the Korean War. MASH began as a comedy, but the themes at the end of series became very serious. The writers, who wrote during the height of the Vietnam War, explored issues of war, death, suffering, and even psychological pain.
In one of the last episodes, a baby is dropped off at the M_A_S*H camp. No one knew where the baby came or to whom the baby belonged. The baby had no name. And yet, the baby, a character with no lines, was the central figure the episode and became the delight of the camp. A baby gave them the ability to continue their work, to make it another day, and to think, “Maybe, just maybe, we’ll make it home.”
At the end of the episode, Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda, said, “You brought a bit of light into a very dark and confusing place.”
The theological implications here are breathtaking – we too are in a very dark and confusing place… we groan. And yet soon, we will be invited to remember and realize, the presence of a baby – a certain kind of baby, a baby with a NAME! – the Savior of the world, the Prince of Peace, the Mighty God.
This baby was born into a world where powerful men killed children. This baby was born into a world where the politics of the day was cutthroat. This baby was born into a world that suffered serious economic shortfalls. This baby was born into a world where religion caused extremist activities.
And yet, this baby was born into the world, and through his life, his ministry, his death, and his resurrection,he has and will bring light to our very dark and confusing place…
There are no immediate answers to this tragedy. No politician, military leader, or psychologist is going to be able to help us make sense of this.
Nothing will satisfy our grief … yet.
But, someday (we don’t know when but we pray for it) the depth of sadness and grief we know will not compare to the glory – the joy, the love, the peace – that will come in our Savior, Christ Jesus.
So we wait with hope, with our prayers, and with the anticipation that this baby who’s name is Light and can bright light – true Light … God’s Light – to a very dark and confusing world.