When the landing gear touched down, the phones turned on. Instantly, my phone filled up with the horrendous news of the mass shooting at The Covenant School.
My connection to the school has come through annual invitations from the Gebhard family to be a part of the “Bring your Pastor to School” day. Heidi and I both have enjoyed attending the “This is the day…” morning to sing God’s praises, to hear children giving prayers, to hear a Word from God. Heidi and I have even been called up to the chancel to participate in the children’s sermon.
So it was, that my jet-lagged, covid positive mind was trying to put together the images of fresh smiling faces, the joy of the day, and this horrendous news. I was so very thankful for the news that the Gebhard children were safe, but then the news of the deaths of the innocents, one of whom greeted us on that “This is the day…” morning, sunk in. I see her face.
I know the sadness that I feel, but I can’t imagine the depths of those who are at the heart of it all. I can’t imagine what horrors the children carry with them. I can’t imagine the despair of parents, grandparents, friends and many of you who are grieving deeply. I can’t imagine the weight the leadership of the congregation is having to carry. I can’t imagine how the pieces can ever be put together. What I don’t need to imagine, however, is the Life that is in that school. I don’t need to imagine how they know the Word. I don’t need to imagine how they will face the days ahead. For, I have heard their testimony.
What we know is that there is money to be made, politics to protect, and the news cycle will move. What we know is that the grieving will not. Our call is to be in covenant with them. We will weep with those who weep. We will love as we are loved. We will pray for healing. We will pray, “Lord, have mercy.” We will find our leadership in the Word, all the while, living the prayer of Jesus:
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one…” John 17:20-22
Peace of Christ,