Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yet Another Shooting

I have been away, at Lutherock, a Lutheran church camp in the high mountains of North Carolina.  I had thought I would be writing about that experience this morning.  But that subject can wait.

While I was driving back, I heard news of the shooting at the Sikh temple.  I feel sick whenever there's a shooting, but especially when it occurs at a place where people should feel safe:  schools, movie theatres, places of worship.  And then I feel a bit of anger:  we should feel safe every place!  But that is not the world we live in.

My local Lutheran church takes precautions.  We keep the office door locked during Sunday services, even while the doors to the sanctuary and fellowship halls are open.  There are Sundays when I wonder if we're foolish to trust that much.  Once I went over to the fellowship hall to get the coffee started, and a down-on-his-luck person asked if he could use the phone.  I said yes.  He used the phone, and I offered him the food I was setting out for coffee hour.  He took a bagel and headed out.

I am aware that it could have all gone horribly wrong.  I was aware from the moment I saw the man in the distance and made the decision not to turn around, to continue on to the fellowship hall that was both empty and too far away from the sanctuary for anyone to hear me. 

I was lucky.

Hospitality does not protect one from violence.  Being in a place of worship does not protect one from violence.  Righteous behavior does not protect one from violence.

We are not promised that.  But we are required to work towards making that vision a reality.

I pray for all of those minorities who now feel a bit more targeted because of the shootings.  I pray for the rest of us too, because these acts of violence make us all feel less safe.  I pray for all the tortured souls who pick up weapons to deal with whatever consumes them. 

But above all, I pray with yearning for the day when the promise is fulfilled, when Creation is fully redeemed, when we no longer fear this kind of horror.

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