The first and most important question to ask, whether after a school shooting or any other tragic event, is who. Who were those injured and killed, who caused this, who allowed this, and who was there?
Those involved deserve to be remembered and remembered for more than just their final moments. They deserve to have their stories told and their lives celebrated, as well as grieved. The ones who caused and allowed such events need to be held accountable. And, what we know of God needs to be proclaimed.
That Who, God, we boldly profess was present with the victims and is present with their family and friends. God's heart is always the first to break when horrible acts snuff out the lives of God's children and hurts the hearts of those around them.
Unfortunately, tragedy happens so frequently that if we only ask the first and most important question (who), we'll never get to the next most important questions: why and how. Why did this happen and how can we prevent it?Those are never answered easily. But too much is at stake to push those questions off until later because before we get around to them some other event distracts us or replaces the most recent tragedy.
We need time to grieve, but we also need to demand that lawmakers ask these questions - who, why, and how - of wise people who study these things without the influence of powerful lobbies who seem to purposefully stifle and redirect the discussion before it even gets going. Let's not make the mistake of waiting until something hits our home before we demand more to be done to reduce the possibility of it hitting anyone's home.
The season of Lent is a time for soul-searching. We have questions to ask of our society, our church, ourselves, even of God. Reading the scripture for Sunday (Psalm 25; 1 Peter 3:18-22), some questions that come to mind are:
- What is your prayer life like this Lent?
- How, as the Ash Wednesday liturgy admonishes us, will you "observe a holy Lent by self-examination and repentance; by prayer and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God's Holy Word?"
- What affect does Christ suffering for sins "once and for all" have on your life?
- What path, God, will you have me take this Lent?
Just some heavy questions to ponder at the end of a heavy week.