I've been writing more often in my prayer blog lately than on here, but today's awful events bring me back into the realm of violence, theology and questions. I posted in the prayer blog about a shooting that happened in the nearby Clackamas Town Center earlier this week. Now, only a few days later we hear about a terrible tragedy in Connecticut.
Images, sound clips and heart-breaking accounts of today's events leave us feeling numb and hopeless. A steady stream of political posturing and religious rants have been flooding my Facebook news feed all day. It is sad how quickly we can manipulate a tragedy into a tool for our own agendas. We have violence towards one another in our eyes.
We have a hard time simply sighing as a nation and grieving together. We are immediately looking for someone or something to blame. (Yes, I include myself in this. I said, "we". Although I refrained from posting throughout the day, my mind went all over, too...) We have destruction in our eyes.
Tonight, though, as the reactions begin to simmer down and the soul searching begins, I am reminded that perfect love casts out fear.
In the Christian Church, during the season of Advent, we light candles each week and we reflect on an image or concept central to our faith. During the first week, we lit a candle for hope. Last Sunday, we lit a candle for peace. In two days we will light the candle of love.
As we light these candles, dear ones, I wonder: what will be in our eyes?
What will we see as the flame flickers and waves in response to our own breath? What will we see as the Scriptures are read?
Will we see the darkness of the world around us? Will we see the brokenness and heartache of each person in the room? Will we see the tears forming in our pastors' eyes as they struggle to share the Word of Promise?
I pray that we do.
I pray, too, that we will be moved to respond in compassion and love to all who are wounded around us. I pray that we will not turn away from the sadness and despair, nor throw our lit candles at it and hope that all will be well. I pray that we might clear the zombie tendencies from our eyes. I pray that our hearts and minds might be bathed in the Light and clothed in the Love of Christ.
Until then, dear ones, my heart breaks alongside yours, and my eyes are filled with tears.
Much love to you, dear ones.