There are times when even pastors shake their heads and shed tears. The tragic shooting at the Connecticut elementary school is one of those times. Yet, I continue to trust in God, whose thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. And so, we cry out with the psalmist: “Deliver me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who plan evil things in their heart. ...” (Psalms 140:1-2)
It is important to remember that this is not God’s doing ... this is a truly evil act brought about by the work of Satan in this young man’s life. This is a terrible reminder, in the midst of preparations for Christmas, that we live in an evil world that is corrupted by sin (there, but for the grace of God, go I).
And so, we give thanks that God, in His mercy, sent His Son into the world, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem us who are under the law. God knows what violence to a child is as His Son was crucified at the hands of evil men for our salvation. God knows the grief and anguish these parents are experiencing. We commend these families into His most gracious care.
An passage from Lutheran Service Book 764, “When aimless violence takes those we love,” stanzas 1, 4 and 5:
“When aimless violence takes those we love, When random death strikes childhood’s promise down, When wrenching loss becomes our daily bread, We know, O God, You leave us not alone. ...
“Because Your Son knew agony and loss, Felt desolation, grief and scorn and shame, We know You will be with us, come what may, Your loving presence near, always the same.
“Through long grief-darkened days help us, dear Lord, To trust Your grace for courage to endure, To rest our souls in Your supporting love, And find our hope within Your mercy sure.”
Rev. K.C. Dehning, pastor
St. James Lutheran Church