These were the opening words to our worship service on Sunday Oct. 8, 2017, after the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Credit must go to Pastor Tim Knapp, and his words posted on being the church in the aftermath of the shooting. Read his whole post, if you have time. It is excellent.
This week we had the shock and horror of what happened in Vegas. I’m not going to say specifics, because of the age range present right now, but the tragedy of Vegas will not stay in Vegas. It has swept across the country and become a part of all our lives, at least for the time being. Hurricanes and earthquakes are one thing, devastating as they are. But the evil we humans inflict on one another is an entirely different category. Forces of nature have no intentionality. But what we do to each other flows from the darkness within. Lately that darkness seems to sense opportunity; it seems much more prevalent.
Living in this emerging reality is new to most of us. And we are left, emotions swinging and raging, wondering how to respond. How do we respond as Christians? Or as pastor, church members, friends, parents and citizens? Clearly, there is no single response that can adequately address the complexity or depth of what's happening. There is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Yet, what you do is important. How you respond, in both the small and the large things, matters so much. Here are some thoughts to consider:
What the church is doing is MORE important, not less important.
This is the time to be the church, because what Christ's followers have to offer is a radically different alternative. The Gospel is a needed in our culture, and it's being lost in the noise. Jesus said his followers would be known by their love. This, more than anything, is what Christians need to be known for.
Families need this love. Victims need this love. Perpetrators need this love. Children need this love. Jesus Christ moves us to love when all that is left is hate. So you coming to be renewed in Jesus's love this Sunday, is not just in response to what happened but in advance of what might happen next. Staying close to Jesus is so important!
Our culture needs Him more than ever. What we do in worship, children's ministries, in fellowship time, and in our church life together is critically important. It is the antidote to the evil we see around us. As the Gospel spreads from person to person, life to life, community to community, nation to nation, we are transformed.
At Knox Presbyterian Church let us proclaim the love of Christ as if it could change the world. Because it does.