Zis-N-Zat From Pastor Asher

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

An Hour of Prayer and Reflection Planned in Memory Of Victims of Newtown Shootings

537579_10151152801331603_1893806171_n[1]On Friday, December 21, 2012, the sanctuary of Christ United Methodist Church will be open between nine and ten a.m. for a time of prayer and reflection. At 9:35 we will ring the bell 26 times in memory of the victims of last Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

On December 14, 2012 around nine a.m. a twenty year old man shot his mother, and then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary school where he killed twenty children (aged six and seven) and six adults before ending his own life.

To be completely honest, I felt and am still feeling stunned and numb. I do not know how to feel and how to respond to that tragedy. I cannot find words or emotions to describe my disappointment, anger and frustration. I don’t even know what to ask God about in prayer concerning this horrific crime.

Originally I thought that I wanted to know “WHY?” but in all honesty it does not matter why Adam Lanza did what he did. The reality of our lives is that there is evil in the world and we have to face it from time to time (more often than we would like to). I believe that Alexander Solzhenitsyn said once that the line between good and evil lays in the center of every person’s heart and soul [Disclaimer: I do not have that quote in English, I am recalling reading this line in Russian approx. fifteen years ago; it is my own translation and it is from my memory]. On December 14, 2012, Adam Lanza made a conscious decision to cross that line and to embrace the dark side of his psyche with catastrophic consequences.

Making decisions is a part of our human condition. Who among us has not struggled with the balance of good and evil in our own lives at one time or another? Every day we make decisions to say and do things that may or may not hurt someone else or even ourselves. Every day we make decisions to act mercifully or vengefully. Every day we make decisions to be kind or to be selfish. All of us wrestle daily with whether or not to give in to the darkness of our own souls. That is part of our human condition; that is what makes us human. That is why Jesus came to dwell among us and to give us an example of what our lives could be. Because sometimes we give in to the dark and evil impulses of our souls, Jesus had to die on the Cross.

Today, our office received a call from a local organization asking us to ring our church bell 26 times in memory of the victims of the shooting: twenty (20) children and six teachers. As strange as it sounds, all of us forgot about the perpetrator’s mother and the perpetrator himself; they are also victims.

I want to open the sanctuary of Christ United Methodist Church, between nine and ten a.m. on Friday, December 21, 2012 for a time of prayer and reflection. At 9:35 we will ring the bell twenty-six (26) times to honor their memory.

God had hopes and dreams for every victim who perished that day. There will be songs that are going to go unsung, poems that will not get written, memories, milestones and accomplishments that will never happen because on that day one person crossed the line that was going through the center of his heart and soul to the dark side.

My hope is that the Community of Christ United Methodist Church will come out in prayer for those who lost their lives; for their families of the victims; for the children and adults who witnessed the shootings and the aftermath and will have to live with those memories; as well as everything that was lost on that day. My hope is that at least some of our neighbors can find it in their hearts to join us.

Please spread the word!

For more information please call the church office, drop me an e-mail or leave me a voice mail.

Philos

Asher

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