Recently we have all been confronted with what seems like an unending series of national, global, and nearer-to-home tragedies. In the wake of this week's mass shooting in Las Vegas, we are once again heartbroken, angry, and we cannot begin to imagine what the victims and their loved ones are going through right now. As I reflect on these times of crisis and strife, I'd like to share a few words of encouragement.
First, I would encourage all of us to resist speaking in religious cliches or quick answers. One of the most Christian responses to tragedy like we've seen is to do what Jesus did when he lost his good friend Lazarus: the gospel writer John tells us simply, Jesus wept. No words. No pious cliches. Just messy tears.
Second, would we resist the temptation to settle for hopelessly disparaging cynicism about the state of our world. True, this is not how things should be, and our hearts may break at the things which surely break the heart of our God. But in the midst of tragedy we see glimpses of the kingdom of God at work through the self-giving love of women and men who risk their lives to serve others. Let us honor and give thanks for those glimpses of the kingdom.
Third, there is no better or more secure place to go in our confusion and sadness than to the words of Scripture, where we find comfort and truth that makes us strong. This coming Sunday we will give study Bibles to every third grader in our church, inviting them to find in its pages the story of a God who loves them unyieldingly in the person of Jesus. In a sense, that is what each of us are invited to do every Sunday when we gather together for worship. We seek to find ourselves caught up in the story of God's grace and sovereignty, even in a chaotic, fallen world.
I hope you will join us Sunday as we long to be a community that is joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
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