You can hear words of response all around you to the shooting tragedy in our community that resulted in 10 deaths and the loss of a loved one for many. Yet, the words are difficult to speak. Our hearts go out to each and every impacted family in their grief and to our community as a whole impacted by this tragic shooting.
When senseless violence happens in another city, often far away, it registers, but affects us very little. When it happens in our own community, just down the street, it becomes a painful near reality.
I’m encouraged in the midst of this experience by God’s Word and Spirit. I’m reminded of the importance of community and connectedness. Places and spaces in living life together where we find deep and rich relationships, the kind of relationships that ground our lives in true reality. To engage in such a heinous act of violence seems to be absolutely unattached from true reality. I’m sure the reasons are many and the causes are complicated. And doesn’t warrant my, or any others, limited judgments.
In light of this week’s violence, I was struck with our deep need to be grounded in true reality, the reality that is Jesus. Jesus stepped into our brokenness and tragedy, grounded himself in our reality, became true reality in flesh and blood. And in him and through him, his birth, life, death, and resurrection, his reality becomes our true reality. Our identity is found in Jesus.
Our text for this week from Hebrews 5-7 speaks of this, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need… We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”
In tragedy, we have some good news – of One who understands, knows, has experienced all tragedy. One who understands our weakness, brokenness, our needs. Who has not only been there, experienced that, but gone through it to the other side.
I find the best way to comfort in sorrow is simply, especially in the face of senseless violence, to be present. Speak less, be present more. Yet there is no denying… people need Jesus. We need Jesus and our neighbors need Jesus. No doubt about it. Jesus is the one who grounds us in true reality. And in Jesus, there is comfort. In Jesus, all fear is gone. In Jesus, there is life and hope.
Keep your eyes and attention fixed on Jesus as we live, move and breath in God’s world,