This came from the blog of the senior pastor at the church I work for. I thought it was interesting.
Sandy Hook Elementary School Reflections
Yesterday when I became aware of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School I wanted to share a pastoral response. I wanted to tell you everything will be alright. I wanted to give you words of encouragement. But that all seems to miss the mark. I've waited 24 hours to share a couple of thoughts with you. I kept waking up in the night thinking about these things. So here is my pastoral reflection for you. First I would remind you that the purpose of life is NOT to arrive safely at the grave. Our responsibility as parents is not to merely deliver our children to teenage years and then to adulthood. And then safely to the grave. Our responsibility is much greater than that. We have the opportunity to instill courage and compassion in our children. We have the opportunity to instill faith in our children. We are able to help develop our children into a life constructed on faith rather than fear. So I encourage you to resist the natural inclination to hold your children closer than usual and try to protect them from anything that could harm them. I encourage you to take your children with you when you go out today. I encourage you to take your children to Sunday School and Church tomorrow. I encourage you to see your children off to school Monday like you would had Sandy Hook not happened. Certainly we are responsible for the safely of our children. Never put your children at unnecessary risk. We know that. But the purpose is building people of faith not delivering people safely to the grave. So live your life fully and faithfully and show your children how to do the same. Secondly I mention the idea Timothy Merrill - editor of Homiletics (a preaching journal I read) - put forward. This is the third weekend in Advent. We will be lighting the Advent Candle of Joy this weekend. He suggested we might want to leave the Joy candle unlit, or perhaps light a "grief" candle. This is not a bad idea. I have given it some thought. But I choose not to follow this suggestion. We have been reading a scripture from Isaiah 9 this month. "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in gteh land of deep darkness a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2) Christmas really is about more than tinsel and giving presents to one another. Christmas really is about God coming to our world. The Lord - Jesus Christ - the Light of the World - entered into a dark, sinful world. The Lord brings redemption to us. So rather than leave the Joy Candle dim I choose to light the Joy Candle and remind us again that Jesus has come to our darkness and sin to bring Light. Jesus brings to our darkness and sin Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. We will go on with our Choir cantata this weekend. We will sing and worship the Lord. I encourage you to look to the Light of Christ as we walk through these days of darkness. Remember all those families affected by the events of Sandy Hook. We pray God's Light shine into their (and our) darkness. Steve