One of the most painstaking responsibilities of a pastor is trying to calibrate one’s mind when tragedy hits a community. I say this because the Church is in the midst of Advent, and our congregation will be lighting the Candle of Celebration in but two days. On the third week of Advent, we light the pink candle, a joyous break from the sobering purple of repentance and royalty.
While I do not live in or near Connecticut, the larger “community” of our nation –especially aided by live news and social media– is certainly shaken, reminded suddenly and tragically of the deep darkness of evil.
The most pressing question [it seems] on people’s minds: “Why? How could someone do such a thing?” While I recognize that this is perhaps far too simplistic, here’s at least a start: Sin is a vacuum.
As Peter Kreeft so ably put it, sin is insane — it makes no sense, is sick and twisted. As one of my former pastors [I still call him such] and my predecessor at FMC put it, sin will will take you further than you ever wanted to go, will make you stay longer than you ever wanted to stay, and will make you pay a price greater than you ever wanted to pay.
Sin is a disease of the soul. Diseases destroy. They corrupt. They sicken. They maim. They kill.
The season of Advent soberingly reminds us of the darkness. It shockingly reminds us, also though, that Jesus, the Light of the world, has entered our darkness. He has burdened Himself with our guilt. He has embraced our disease. He has invaded our world of suffering and death.
The Christ-child, who we worship at the Nativity, is the perfect Man. His birth has renewed our humanity. He is our hope, our peace, our joy. He is the heart’s greatest longing.
As we await His imminent and glorious return, we live and dwell within a world of darkness needing light, a world of disease needing a cure, a world of pain needing comfort, a world of loss needing presence. May the Church [we who celebrate His presence] be tangibly indeed the Body of Christ to those who hurt and sorrow.
Lord, surround these families with love and comfort.
Lord, have mercy.