God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
Call to Prayer // Open Letter to the Community of Christ United Methodist Church and our Neighbors in Colorado.
21 July 2012
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None of the people who were victims or survivors of the horrific shooting in Colorado yesterday know anyone in the congregation of Christ United Methodist Church in Chestertown, MD. Although they don’t know us, they are our neighbors and our hearts break for them.
On behalf of our community and as pastor of Christ United Methodist Church, I want to express words of sympathy to the victims, survivors and their families. Although these words cannot erase what happened, we hope that our thoughts and prayers will bring a little comfort in these trying times.
As a church we pray for those who lost their lives and their families. As a church we pray for those who had to witness this horrific incident so that they can find strength to grieve, to process what happened and to move on with their lives. Our hope and prayer is that they can find the strength to continue living their lives knowing that each moment of life is a blessing and an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else.
As a church we pray for the doctors, nurses, medical technicians and other health care personnel. We thank God for calling them to their vocations in the health care field and we ask God to use them and God-revealed technology as instruments of physical cure as well as emotional and spiritual healing in all of our lives.
When human beings don’t know what to say or to do, we often say well-meaning and stupid things. We say platitudes like, “he/she is with God,” or “it is all in God’s Control,” or “everything happens for a reason.” More often than not such platitudes fill those to whom they are addressed with anger, frustration and anxiety.
Today I want to assure you that not all Christians believe these things. I do not believe them.
God that I know personally and intimately does not need to use natural disasters, crimes, or mental illness to punish some of his human children while sparing others. Jesus came to show us that there is healing and life in the midst of sin and death. There is no rhyme or reason in someone making a tragedy happen in order to receive a few minutes of fame.
Finally we are praying for the perpetrator of the crime. I pray for our legal system, for our mental health professionals who will be working with him, I pray for both mercy and justice for his life.
Those who survive and the families of victims often ask, “WHY DID THIS HAPPEN?” Another Methodist Pastor, Rev. Adam Hamilton from the Church of Resurrection in Kansas City, wrote a small book titled, “Why?” Although at this time the victims and families are not ready to face it, wait a couple of months, get this book and read it. It will not undo the evil that all of us experienced, nor will it make it all OK, but it will help you to deal with the tragedy and to reinvent yourselves.
As we grieve this horrific crime, God grieves with us over the senseless and thoughtless actions that have caused so much pain and loss. God is as close as a prayer, and God is here next to each and every one of us. May God’s grace be with all of us, may God’s mercy bring healing into our communities and may we find the desire to reach out to God.