Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tears for the children, Tears for us all.

The tears finally came.

I think yesterday it was the shock.  How could it not be?  Sitting at lunch with a visiting pastor from Cameroon when I saw the news flashing across a TV in the corner of the restaurant.  Apologizing to my friend when I pulled out my cell to search for news to clarify the soundless message of "27 dead in school shooting" flashing across the muted screen. 

Connecticut.  Kindergartners.

I can't even fathom what could have happened.  How could someone walk into an elementary school - AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL! - and start shooting.

As I explain to my friend what has happened, he asks, "Was it terrorists?"

I respond, "Probably not.  Usually when this happens, there's been a fight, a broken relationship, some bullying.  Someone has a problem with one of the people shot, or the school."

I recoil at my own words:  Usually....when this happens....


Really - how many times does this have to happen for it to become almost common?  For it to become something that we can talk about in terms of the typical reasons for it?

I think of the people in that mall near Portland earlier this week.  Of the Sikhs in the temple in Wisconsin, the movie-goers in Aurora.  I think of Virginia Tech, of an Amish schoolhouse.  Of Columbine.

The rest of the day, I carry a heavy lead weight in my soul.  There are no tears, no prayers.  Just 'Lord have mercy..." and the wordless cry of my heart to God for the children, the parents, the first responders, the community....for us all.

Today, finally, the shock wears away and I have tears.

I think of this week's worship - my friend visiting from Cameroon will be doing a monologue as King Herod talking about his deadly rage at the news of a new king in town - the newborn Prince of Peace.  We'll light the third Advent Candle - the candle of Joy.  We will hear Paul's words to the Philippians:  "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say "Rejoice."

Herod, the king who murdered infants in order to kill the Prince of Peace who threatened his rule.  This evil has been with us a long time.

Rejoice in the Lord always.  

How can we rejoice, when we hear the voice of Rachael, weeping over her children?  When we hear the cries of the mothers in Bethlehem?  The cries of women weeping over their children killed in war, in senseless violence, in heedless pursuit of greed throughout the centuries?  When hear the tears of a nation reeling in the deaths of 20 kindergartners just 11 days before we celebrate Christmas?

I cry this morning with them.

I offer the words of one of my favorite hymns as a prayer this morning.  "God of Grace, and God of Glory" is usually sung as a triumphal hymn.  Today as I read it, verses 2 and 3 become a lament, a prayer of longing for the coming of the One who will make all things right, make all things new:

Lo! The host of evil round us
Scorn the Christ assail his ways!
From the fears that long have bound us
Free our hearts to faith and praise.
Grant us wisdom
Grant us courage
For the living of these days
For the living of these days

Cure your children's warring madness.
Bend our prise to your control.
Same our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul
Grant us wisdom
Grant us courage
Lest we miss your kingdom's goal
Lest we miss your kingdom's goal.

Come, Lord Jesus - end your children's warring madness.

No comments:

Post a Comment