There is little doubt that many in the nation grieve today as they have done since Friday. The question I read and hear the most about the tragic and senseless murders of all those people in Connecticut is "How could someone do that?" It seems the sentiment of reporters all over as the headlines continue to call for a motive, perhaps to somehow make sense of what happened or to pinpoint blame.
Interestingly enough, although not unexpected, God is not mentioned at all or if so only in terms of questioning how God could let this happen. Could God have stopped this? Yes. Did God? No. Why? Honestly, I am not sure. But I do know that we rarely rely on God until the bad is so great that we cannot fathom how to handle it ourselves, and only then do we want to call Him down to us. We live in a nation that continuously attempts to remove God further and further from our lives. Prayer is no longer tolerable. The Ten Commandments are no longer deemed any good for teaching. We try our best to kill God, only to try to take on the role for ourselves.
I think that the real answer to the question of how someone could do such a heinous and thoughtless act has more to do with limiting God and then allowing the void to be filled with the presence of evil. For only dark and repugnant evil could even conceive of such an act as what was done to those poor people. Only pure evil has a way of designing the most diabolical and senseless tragedies. And evil will always step quickly in where God seems no longer wanted.
Have you noticed that we no longer pray to God at large events, we have moments of silence? I am unsure what exactly that means. Have you noticed that people no longer want to say that they will pray for someone, they instead say that their "thoughts" will be with them? Is "thinking" a way of appeasing those who don't want God in their life so therefore they don't want God in ours either?--And sadly as Christians we often join the crowd.
The people in the passage above heard the cry of John the Baptist to repent and were moved to see their error. When confronted with what they lacked in their life, they quickly wanted to know what they should do to gain what they needed. Three times they repeated that question and three times John was quick to tell them how God desires for them to live.
Perhaps the question the nation seems to be seeking is not so much "How could someone do this?' but "What shall we do?". In other words, what does God desire? As Christians the first place to start is with prayer. Those whose lives have been brought to a standstill by this tragedy need us. Pray now and then seek other ways to help. Another thing is to invite God back into our nation. Not an easy task in the current climate, but a much needed one. And one other thing is to recognize that God was with those whose lives were abruptly and wrongly taken. God was the one consoling and bringing peace to their souls. What that says is that while we may try to do away with God, God still desires a closer relationship with us.
I still don't know why God did not stop that young man but I know that God cares deeply for all those who were killed. We may never know how someone could do such a thing. But at least with God's help, we can reach out to those who grieve.
Pastor Randal Bruno delivered this heartfelt message to the congregation at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Runge about the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.
St. Paul Lutheran Church, Runge worship services are Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. and Christmas Eve the worship service will be at 4 p.m.