Another school shooting, this time in Florida, 17 killed and at least 14 injured. It happened about 2:30 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. A 17-year-old student recently expelled for fighting is charged with returned to campus in a premeditated killing attack.
Again? That is the first question that comes to mind when we hear about the tragic school shooting in Florida this week. I was serving as a Youth Leader when the Columbine shooting took place. As a nation, we were stunned that anything so brutal could happen in the US, and even more amazed that it could happen in school.
Does it amaze us anymore? Are we stunned by the news? Or has it become something we have become accustomed to the news?
The discussion this morning I have heard has a note of resignation, as if to say there is nothing we can do to stop this. There is a somber resolve that this cultural slide we are on is unstoppable. There is almost an air of hopelessness.
It is a day when this Vicar sits stunned and saddened by the evil in this world that has devalued life so much that this type of event is not only possible but is repeated.
How do we respond? How do we turn the cultural tide in this country? While I do not have a grand national agenda to suggest I do have an answer.
It has to start with me, my response to life what be so strong that there is no question when I stand. My protection for the unborn must be unwavering, my outcry against the level of violence in our movies and video games must be well known. My prayers for the leaders of nations that allow and even encourage assisted suicide must be daily. I need to value to lives of those around me. I need to find delight in the squeal of a child, and joy in holding the door for someone who struggles to walk.
I must Change.
I can no longer leave this in the hands of others, It is mine to change. It starts with looking for signs of hope in the world around me and celebrating them.
Ash Wednesday Hope…
I spotted a sign of hope last night in our Ash Wednesday worship last night. It was in the back row, a family I did not know joined us. This in itself is a reason for joy, but it gets better. This couple along with their two children age, 2 and an infant joined us for a specific reason. No, it was not because they heard the Vicar preaches a great sermon, or that the confirmation class who helped lead the service moves the congregation to tears. Why did they choose our little congregation? Because our service was at 6:30 pm.
It might not seem like a big deal, but let’s ponder that for a moment. It was Ash Wednesday, and a young family decided that Worship was a high value for them. Mom goes online and begins to look for a church that is holding a service to mark the beginning of Lent, and would be at such a time that they could all attend and still get their children to bed early.
This is a sign of hope, it is a sign of change. This small event happening in a small, nondescript building is what will help move this culture. When this nation and her children return to Worship when they being to value the truths that faith brings. We need to be a nation that not only welcomes our young families to worship but seeks them out.
A Reason for Youth Ministry
These events also remind me why I spent the better part of 30 years working in youth ministry. This life that I value and honor coupled with my Love for Christ compels me to share Him with all that I can, especially Youth. This shooting reminds us how fragile, and unpredictable our lives are. There may not be a tomorrow to tell our children about a relationship with Christ.
We also need to have an active youth ministry in our churches because these children we are welcoming will grow up, and the church must become an active part of their lives.
Are you ready to change?