Heartbroken. Soul sick. Senseless violence and loss of life. Shattered families and communities. Our world, our country keeps spiraling downward at breath-taking speed.
The latest of a series of violence which include shootings at shopping malls, groceries and even a house of worship happened at a grade school in a small town in Texas. A town where people know one another. A town where people felt safe. Just like in other places like New York, Minnesota, California (unfortunately the list is long), Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas has had its identity shorn away and will be forever branded as the site of mass murder.
Babies, really. Instead of celebrating the end of a school year with awards and parties, families are gathering in grief and funerals. The community is left reeling from the loss of life and innocence. Lives shattered. They will never be the same and I pray, that we also will be changed forever. For if we do not allow these atrocities to touch us and change us, then we, as individuals and communities, will be forever condemned to allow them to continue. We must feel the pain and the horror of these tragedies so that we can take steps to bring them to an end.
I feel like the Psalmist who begins lament after lament pleading for God to hear – to notice – to see the injustices and violence that are happening around the Psalmist. Sometimes, like the Psalmist, all we can do is cry. The pain, fear, anger, and grief leave us impotent to do much else. The lamenting is cathartic. Repeatedly, the Psalmist, in his cries for vindication and help, seems to symbolically raise a fist to God and asks in desperation, “Where are you?” We resonate.
As the anger is spent and the grief is released, the memory of God’s faithful presence surfaces. The situation has not changed. The hurt and loss remain, but trust in God begins to push through. The Psalmist -we- remember God’s faithfulness and promises. We are reminded that God is present and is acting. We put our trust in God.
We remember that prayers are important for true prayers bring action and change. So, we pray. May we pray for healing, comfort, and hope, but may we pray that we are led to act. And may those actions begin with a vow, “Never again, Lord.” Let us work to make it so.