November 10, 2017
It has been five days since a gunman stormed into a tiny Baptist chapel in the Texas Hill Country, and the sting of the tragedy remains.
Twenty-six lives were taken from this world too early and without warning. A grandmother who shielded her 18-month-old grandson from gunfire is among the dead, as well as a pair of high school sweethearts, the pastor’s teenage daughter and eight members of the same family — including an unborn child.
Sutherland Springs, Texas — population 643 — will never be the same. I pray that we — in a nation plagued with mass shootings — will never be the same, as well, and as a result be moved to action.
We do not know how anyone could follow through on this evil, selfish and senseless act … and we never will.
What we do know is this: the sanctity of the church — where as individuals we go in times of comfort and in times of celebration, where we gather in community with other believers — was violated on Sunday, Nov. 5, during a time of worship.
This violation wasn’t limited to Sutherland Springs. It has shaken us all, in North Texas and around the world, across all denominations and individually as children of God. But I will not allow this incident to keep me from worshipping Sunday morning, and I encourage you to do the same.
These mass shootings carried out by a lone gunman have become too commonplace. The responses have been the same: calls for more resources for mental health, more stringent background checks, and prayers for the victims and their families. The lives of innocent children, concertgoers, gay persons in a nightclub and worshippers on a Sunday morning were snuffed out by a gunman with automatic weapons.
God values human life. As we pray and worship Sunday morning, I will pray that we find the courage to encourage elected officials to acknowledge the danger these automatic weapons pose to our society and begin to work on curbing the mass shootings in our country.
As a church, we turn to our God in times of crisis – and today is no different. I ask that you pray with me — for the families of those who must bury loved ones, for a congregation that must come together under the most trying of circumstances and for our nation’s leaders to have the wisdom and fortitude needed to face this moment.