Here is a note that I sent to the people of Western Louisiana.
The shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, have come at a particularly cruel time. We allow our hearts–hardened by so much struggle and toil and busyness in the rest of the year–to assume a youthful tenderness during in the Yuletide. We hope, we really dare to hope, for peace and joy. And the unguarded excitement of children infects even the weariest adult with something of the mystery and majesty of the Infant King.
How especially heart-rending it was to hear that a young gunman had murdered nearly thirty people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and that twenty of those people were children. We pray for the repose of all those who have died, for healing for the injured, for comfort for grieving parents and friends, and for peace for terrorized children and adults alike.
In the days ahead I will provide some theological reflections on the killings and the ones just Tuesday in an Oregon shopping mall. But this is not the time. We are numb from shock and sick with grief. We gather together under the shelter of our loving God and share our hearts and souls with those directly affected.
If there are children in your life, comfort them with your own sense of calm. Reassure them that they are safe. Remember that your own shock arises in part from the randomness of this violence, but also that such random acts are very rare.
This is a good time to say, “I love you.” That is what God is saying to us. It is what I am saying to you. Love, not this senseless violence, will have the last word. Our hope for peace and joy is not in vain. The baby in that manger in Bethlehem assures us that this is so.
In Christ’s Love,