Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Where is God in All of This?

There is a petition circulating on the internet to prevent hate groups such as Westboro Baptist Church from protesting the funerals of the slain children and teachers in Newtown, CT. Former Governor and Republican Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has suggested that the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School was somehow God's punishment for taking prayer out of the public schools. And I'm sure someone else somewhere on the far-right end of the political spectrum is spouting off about these horrible acts of violence are because of gay people, or abortion, or atheists, or all three.

I'm always ashamed when such lunacy gets picked up and published by the media. For far too long, these were the voices of Christianity that were heard. Thankfully, the more reasoned leaders of mainline religious groups are no longer allowing the message of Christ to be hijacked by those relatives in our family who we wish wouldn't show up for the cameras so often. Let me join with that former group to offer up the other face of God in Christ.

God did not will this shooting to happen. God does not want the senseless slaughter of children in Connecticut, or Chicago, or Aurora, or Littleton, or China or anywhere else. These acts of violence are not acts by God; they are the acts of human hands. We are created for good, and given free will. And God, like any decent and good parent, hopes beyond hope that we use our freedom in ways that are beneficial to all and above everything that we remain in Love. I would say many of us, even the ones who don't believe, are doing OK at living up to these expectations. We fall down frequently, but we pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and try again.  And then there are the ones who, for whatever reason, use their freedom to hurt others and commit acts that are, frankly, evil.

Did God back away and forget to check in with the people of Newtown?  No. God was never far from those children and those adults in that school even as evil swept through to destroy the goodness of creation.  Why didn't God stop it then?  I don't know.  But why do we assume that God can prevent us from doing any number of things that darken our world?  We aren't puppets and God isn't a puppet master.  In my own imagination, God felt all the pain and suffering that day... including whatever twisted, fearful, and maniacal firings were in the head of Adam Lanza.  Only God can know what to do with the shooter. And only God can know if there was any meaning to this tragedy.

I have to leave this one up to God to take this moment of pain and suffering and move along with us as we come into a new reality.  With God's help, what was meant for evil will be turned for good.


Anonymous said...

As usual my dear you have come to a thoughtful and loving conclusion that gets us all thinking and praying for a better world.


Phoebe McFarlin said...

Today I heard someone comment.. 'God was the first one to shed tears." That is the best image of the God I know and love.