A Letter from Erik about the Recent Tragedies
Common Ground Northeast Family,
I was shocked to learn about the first tragic shooting in El Paso resulting in 22 deaths and numerous critical injuries. This moment was difficult enough. Then, I woke up to hear about the events in Dayton, I was horrified, and I was a little stunned. My first thought was, “will there be more?!” Following this I had a flood of emotions - shock, anger, sadness, fear, more anger... One of the most common thoughts I’ve had amidst the MULTIPLE mass shootings we have endured in our nation is, “why is this still happening??”
No doubt many of you in the CGNE family felt the same.
All of us process tragedy differently, though we have the same Holy Spirit who counsels us. All of us have different opinions on how to fix the issues, though we are all ambassadors to the same Kingdom. And all of us feel the weight that sin places on us, because we are living in a broken world without the fullness of shalom until Christ returns.
A few weeks ago, our sermon addressed the importance of practicing the Spiritual Discipline of Lament. What a timely message for the Holy Spirit to bring into our community as we encounter such confusing and terrifying events in our culture?
We are reminded that Gods sits with us in the midst of our sorrow and pain, and we are reminded that He has made a way for us to approach God when we are suffering or angry.
I want to encourage our congregation to go to God in this season. Take all of the questions and the fullness of your emotions before the One who has the ability to comfort, to guide, to bring justice, and to be present in all situations, to all people, at all times.
...but don’t stop there.
As those who have been charged with the ministry of reconciliation, be ambassadors of the Kingdom of heaven and carriers of Shalom to everyone around you.
Take time to pray for those who were directly affected in the shootings. Ask for peace, healing, and comfort to rest upon the victims. Ask for God to enact justice to whatever degree He deems worthy.
God may be prompting you to action; to raise money for victims or to advocate according to your convictions surrounding these shootings. Ask Jesus what He wants you to do in response to the tragedies we've witnessed. In all things, listen to Jesus and DO what He says.
We will take a few minutes this Sunday to reflect, lament, and pray as a congregation. Until that time, may the words of David, from Psalm 34:17-18 comfort you in this season:
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Kirie Elieson (Lord, have mercy on us),