As I sit in an airport watching on television the unfolding horrific story of the shooting at the school in Connecticut, I overheard an airport worker say to someone else: all those children, all those families—and now, at Christmas time.
Immediately what came to my mind was one of the most troubling Scripture verses associated with Bethlehem. That awful, horrible, unspeakable crime of a megalomaniac named Herod who had all the boy babies in Bethlehem murdered just so that he could eliminate the one whom people were calling a newborn king.
How can a man do that? How can a man try to assassinate the Messiah?
In the face of Herod’s atrocity, Matthew quotes the prophet Jeremiah about another time of devestation related to children: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more” (Matthew 2:18). Does your heart ache when you read that?
As a pastor I have officiated at the funerals of children, and it always brings out that deep deep grieving in us that says: this is so wrong. So wrong. We must take the sin and corruption of our world seriously. We need salvation, without delay.
We must weep and mourn with the families and the community in Connecticut affected by this. And at some time we need to talk about how these things happen.
(A sobering fact: of the 12 worst shootings in U.S. history, 6 of them have happened in the last five years.)
In addition to his work at Elmbrook Church and The Brook Network, Mel Lawrenz also writes the Christmas Joy and Everything New devotionals at Bible Gateway.