I don’t understand.
I suppose that in many ways is a good thing, because I do not believe that we are designed to comprehend the vile sickness within someone who carries out the kind of horrors that we learned about this morning.
How could this happen; again?
Only this time it is the worst on record.
That is the sinking feeling that we face. That is the voice of despair and forfeit that we are tempted to succumb to as we face the high probability that some day someone will do something worse than what just happened in Vegas.
As a husband and father this endless violence worries me. What can I do to keep those whom I love and care for safe? Everybody has an opinion on this subject and I respect you right to have an opinion on the matter. For me, violence will not end, stop, deter, nor remove violence.
As a pastor this violence unsettles me. Random targets and planned targets are equally common in our country. Through my untrained observations both are difficult to identify in enough time to save lives or even prevent from happening at all. The anger, hate, chemical imbalance, and mental/spiritual crisis all feed off each other to make a toxic cocktail that erupts in a way that permanently distorts and shatters lives.
How can I respond?
I pray. I wait. I listen.
My prayers are not profound. All I can say is “Oh GOD!”
I pray for those who know and love the victims. I pray for Jason Aldean who now through no fault of his own has this nightmare on his shoulders.
I pray for everyone who takes the stage, speaks in public, gathers for a sporting event, the theater, the movies, anywhere who is haunted by the “what if it happens here?”
I pray for those who will end up getting blamed for not doing enough to protect the public. I pray for those who rushed to the scene to save, serve, and protect.
I pray that I can listen and not speak. I don’t have the answers.
I believe that prayer is effective and at times like these essential. It is out of this belief that I pray that God’s kingdom come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven. I pray that God will end the violence and that we will do our part in carrying out that mission to end the violence in our minds, hearts, actions, and communities.
I pray. I breathe. I hope.
All is not lost. We rise with peace in our hearts. We commit ourselves to be led by love. We believe that hope cannot be broken or destroyed.
I pray. AMEN.