Like many Americans, as I climbed into my car last evening to leave the office and return home for the night, I was greeted by the news on my car radio of yet another tragic shooting at a school in Parkland, FL.
I was reminded, uncomfortably, of my feelings mid-morning in December 2012, watching the news unfold of Sandy Hook in my office. I wept at my desk that day, as I processed the events through my newly found lens as a father. My first born was only a few months old at that point, and the images of parents on their knees, crying into the cold asphalt was too much to bear.
What was uncomfortable yesterday was the lack of tears. This scene has become familiar. This is not a commentary on gun control, or the cycle of violence in America, or even on the way America interacts with mental health issues. My purpose here is simply a suggestion of how we might respond, in light of the Gospel, in light of the hope we're promised through Jesus.
So in that light, may I humbly offer a suggested course of action, a roadmap of how we might proceed. Later last evening, again, like many of you, I hopped on Facebook to scroll through the day's feed. I was met with many posts, on every side of the issue. I was met with Christians, asking for prayer. I was met with Christians, angry that prayer was no longer enough. I was met with people frustrated at politicizing a tragedy. I was met with people frustrated that yet another tragedy was not enough to catalyze a response.
None of it is wrong, but none of it is complete either. May I simply suggest that we begin with a different course of action? May we lament, confess, listen to the spirit and then act. Here is the prayer I found myself praying for the last 12 hours:
Father, If our first response is to type before we lament, forgive us.
If our inclination is to strategize before we grieve, forgive us.
If our inclination is to speak out before we self-examine, forgive us.
If our inclination is to form an opinion before falling to our knees, forgive us.
If we are plagued with apathy, forgive us.
If we are content to say, "what can we do?", forgive us.
If we find ourselves protecting ourselves at the cost of others, forgive us.
When we pray but do so without listening, forgive us.
God, forgive us.
My goodness. Very well said. Thanks so much for sharing.
Wish I would have read through this before ABF yesterday when we discussed appropriate safeguards for churches. Your heart/prayer needs to be heard more. Blessings!
I shared the prayer with our congregation at the close of our service yesterday. Good stuff.
Awesome to hear, Chris. May we continue to pray it!