prayer in the midst of violence

Early last Tuesday I briefly entertained the idea of visiting the Clackamas Town Center, provided I could get off work early enough. I wanted to go to the Barnes and Noble Book Store, plus take in the festive Christmas ambiance. You know, children on Santa’s lap, live Christmas music, excited shoppers searching for something special for loved ones, ten thousand people in a 1.7 million square foot space.

Unfortunately, a long work day prevented these plans, so I missed my opportunity, or at least that was my thinking at the time. As I got into my car to drive home, news of the shootings at Clackamas Town Center hit the radio airwaves. Shock and disbelief filled my heart. I’ve been throughout that mall many times. I’ve visited the food court, walked by Macy’s, gone up and down the escalators, met various shop keepers….

Late yesterday, near the end of a very intense work day I learned about the massacre in Connecticut. Apparently 28 dead, twenty of whom were school children. Numbness, horror, weeping. It was all I could do to hold it together in my truck.

Lots of people are giving advice, making suggestions, offering insights, and generally trying to be helpful. Perhaps some of it actually is helpful. For my part, I invite all reading this to do three things insofar as they apply to you:

1. If you are depressed and having suicidal thoughts and/or thoughts of harming others, stop reading this now and go to the hospital for psychiatric help. Seriously. Go now.

2. Everyone, hold your family and friends closely. Don’t isolate. Love each other.

3. I invite everyone to pray to The Lord God. Ask for his mercy, his peace, his restoration of hearts, lives, communities shattered by violence.

Finally, be vigilant about your surroundings and innocent concerning your treatment of others. Pray without ceasing, be joyful in the hope only God can provide, and focus on what is most important in life.

Need someone to talk to? The comments section is open. I’m listening.

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