It is with soul shaking, and spirit scouring sadness, that we, as a family of churches in the Canadian Baptists of Western Canada, grieve with the parents, siblings, relatives, and friends of those who died and were injured in the recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
In the midst of a season which anticipates the birth of a child, the Christ child, the Morning Star who signals the dawn of a new day in His person, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, and inevitable return, we are stilled by the young and other lives cut short. We remember violence done to others everywhere. We stand with the Baptist pastor from Brooklyn, who was offering to reclaim guns last Saturday, so as to get them out of circulation… we stand with him when he remarked that as a pastor in Chicago, dozens of people had been killed in a 36 hour period during his ministry there. Gun violence is prevalent in many parts of the world. The circumstances and age of the children simply change shape.
The children of Newtown have been adopted by us all. It begs the question, however, about suffering elsewhere. There are no equivalencies in the killing of children. But their deaths remain the same. A blot on adult policy, practice, and behaviour. We kill them; they rarely kill each other.
I look forward to a day when our horror, sympathy, tears, and compassion does two simple things. First, that it is extended to all of God’s children, young and old. And secondly, we are so driven from the empty watering hole of our own complacency to ensure that we find ways of protecting children by creating a society that is fit to live in, and allows them to enter adulthood.
I urge you to pray for those we mentioned at the beginning of this commentary, and that we become ennobled and emboldened to reflect on the society that we live in, our own communities, our own nation, and ask the Lord and each other “what can we do? How can we be different than we have been before? Changed.”
The result of 9/11 was hundreds of thousands dead. May the result of Newtown be hundreds of thousands shielded from dying.