My heart is heavy, as I’m sure every heart is in light of the events of yesterday. I had a post prepared for today, but have decided to save it and post in response to the weighty news we have all heard. There are a number of things I would like to say, but to begin with, though it goes without saying, this was a travesty. No, not just a tragedy, but a travesty, a distortion, an absurdity. Reality is absurd because it is such a distortion of what should be. Children should not be murdered; I weep for those who are weeping for the loss of the precious treasure that is their child, there are no words that can heal the deepness of that wound. And sadly, events like that of Connecticut and China are not isolated, nor are they rare. They happen daily in Africa, they happen daily in America with the unborn, they have happened repeatedly in our history and no doubt will continue into our future. The horrific events of yesterday that have left many of us in shock are sadly the norm of our world, not because of gun laws, not because of a lack of prayer in school, not just because of mental illness, and not because of just a few select evil people; they happen because our world is steeped in sin and they are the ultimate expression of separation from God. At the beginning of our fall from grace we told God we didn’t want to submit to him, and so, he let us have our way, and our way is so distorted, disoriented and confused; full of pain and brokenness and ultimately unspeakable wickedness.
We will try to make sense of things, we will try to polarize people, saying there are “bad” people, and there are “good” people. But I think Sufjan Stevens puts it quite perfectly in his song, John Wayne Gacy Jr; a song that is about the horrific events that occurred at the hands of the man the title is named for;
“And in my best behavior
I am really just like him
Look beneath the floorboards
For the secrets I have hid.”
We can try to convince ourselves that the men who committed the crimes of yesterday are just “evil” exceptions. But they really aren’t the exceptions. We are all capable of what they’ve done, and without Christ, we are all destined for the same end.
Those men committed horrendous crimes, but they came from pain too; they came from places of hurt and brokenness, they are people like me. I am really just like them. But; and what a beautiful word “but” is, because it is the turning point of hope. Though we are all broken and lost, there is a great hope. Yesterday we were reminded of the depth of tragedy, we were reminded of the weight of the darkness that surrounds us, my heart was heavy with the burden of sin that crushes our world beneath it; but a light has pierced the darkness. Christmas is a celebration of that very hope; a baby was born to die, and to rise again defeating the power of sin. Jesus says, “come to me all you who carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.” He has promised to make all things right, to wipe away every tear, and to justify the blood of the martyrs. Those babies that were so cruelly stolen yesterday, and every day, their blood cries out for justice, and God is so just. He will set all things right, but first he is allowing us to turn to him before we face that justice, because we all deserve punishment, we all have secrets hidden beneath the floorboards of our hearts, right now God is offering us mercy; if we take it what a glorious hope we have. But for those who refuse it, justice will prevail, and the blood of the innocent will not be forgotten.
So I encourage you, do not forget these events next week as life continues; do not allow yourself to become apathetic to reality, but remember them, remember the injustice that prevails in our world, and cling to the very real and beautiful hope we have in Christ, that this world in all its brokenness is a travesty, a complete distortion of what God designed, this absurd reality is not the end, Jesus promises to reverse the tragedy and end the darkness.