We used to say that church was the safest place you can be. That façade was cracked when stories of abuse on the part of ministers and other adults began leaking out. Now, with the painful echoes of the Charleston church shooting that took nine lives still reverberating, we learn of the massacre in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Twenty six lives snuffed out. The tragedy left another twenty wounded and an entire community in shock.
Why church? Every church is vulnerable. While some have taken elaborate precautions and beefed up security, it is still hard to conceive that houses of worship are subject to such horror. The congregation of First Baptist Church was an easy target. The assassin simply walked in and opened fire.
I wish I had an answer. We can talk about banishing certain kinds of guns. We can talk about stricter laws. But we know it goes deeper than that. Evil runs rampant. Disaffected individuals like the 26 year old who committed mass murder cannot be easily identified or stopped when they have mayhem on their twisted minds. A lunatic poisoned by a perverted ideology rents a truck from Home Depot and runs down people on bike path in Manhattan. The stories are many and it seems inevitable that more horrific events are on the horizon.
When you are riding your bike on a crisp New York day, you never expect to be crushed by a madman in a truck. When you come to worship with your family and friends, you never anticipate a hail of gunfire.
On yet another day of pain, may we beseech our God to bring comfort but may we also determine to cherish life as we work even harder for justice. God, heal this broken world as only You can. May your children strive for peace through the love and grace of our Lord Jesus.