I thought about writing my own thoughts on this. Perhaps I will share what I added into my sermon after church tomorrow. I did not say anything new or anything that no one else hasn’t already said, but nonetheless, it was cathartic for me to write and might prove helpful to some.
That said, there have been many good responses from across the Christian blog world to this horrific tragedy. I’ll share some excerpts and links in case you are looking for good resources to help you work through this tragedy.
From Russell Moore:
Let’s not offer pat, easy answers to the grieving parents and communities in Connecticut. We don’t fully understand the mystery of iniquity. We don’t know why God didn’t stop this from happening. But we do know what this act is: it’s satanic, and we should say so.
Let’s grieve for the innocent. Let’s demand justice for the guilty. And let’s rage against the Reptile behind it all.
As we do so, let’s remember that Bethlehem was an act of war. Let’s remember that the One born there is a prince of peace who will crush the skull of the ancient murderer of Eden. Let’s pray for the Second Coming of Mary’s son. And, as we sing our Christmas carols, let’s look into the slitted eyes of Satan as we promise him the threat of his coming crushed skull.
The mystery of evil is a declaration of war on the peace of God’s creation. The war goes on, but not for long. And sometimes the most warlike thing we can say, in an inhuman murderous age like this one, is “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.”
From Ed Stetzer:
We sense inside us a God-given desire to alleviate as much pain as possible with the tools and opportunities God has placed at our disposal. We hate watching people suffer from the debilitating effects of evil in the world. We want to see fallen and broken world, with its hurt and pain, driven back and overthrown. Yet, we can be pretty good at drowning out our heart’s compassion with large doses of television and distractions, but deep down we want to be part of making a difference in others’ lives.
So, don’t just watch the television news. Do something to change the broken world– show and share the love of Jesus. Again. More.
The hurting world needs God’s people living as those who care, because we do care. We can’t fix everything, but we can do something.
From John Piper:
Mass murder is why Jesus came into the world the way he did. What kind of Savior do we need when our hearts are shredded by brutal loss?
We need a suffering Savior. We need a Savior who has tasted the cup of horror we are being forced to drink.
And that is how he came. He knew what this world needed. Not a comedian. Not a sports hero. Not a movie star. Not a political genius. Not a doctor. Not even a pastor. The world needed what no mere man could be.
The world needed a suffering Sovereign. Mere suffering would not do. Mere sovereignty would not do. The one is not strong enough to save; the other is not weak enough to sympathize.
So he came as who he was: the compassionate King. The crushed Conqueror. The lamb-like Lion. The suffering Sovereign.
I cannot offer a snippet of Scripture or a platitude to comfort those families, or to comfort you, my fellow believers. The day of our comfort is a future one. All I can offer is to hate my sin more deeply than I did yesterday and to cry out to God for a time when the groaning of this creation gives birth to that which is once again good. If hope ever transects hatred, it is here. In a few hours my own children will walk through my front door, God willing. I can be a mother who loves deeply and unselfishly in a world that is not safe. Surely that is the least I can do for these precious lives.
Part of God’s law, given at Mt. Sinai, was that no one should “mistreat any widow or fatherless child” (Ex. 22:22). Indeed, God is one who “executes justice for the fatherless” (Deut. 10:18) and curses anyone who perverts the justice due to orphans (Deut. 27:19). The Lord says that no one should do wrong or be violent towards innocent children and orphans (Jer. 22:3). Not only does God want his people to love and care for children, but they are called to do everything in their power to stop those who try to hurt, abuse, or oppress them. “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17). Children are a gift from God (Ps. 127:3) and a blessing, and are to be loved, disciplined, and cared for.
From Ross Douthat of The New York Times:
In the same way, the only thing that my religious tradition has to offer to the bereaved of Newtown today — besides an appropriately respectful witness to their awful sorrow — is a version of that story, and the realism about suffering that it contains.
That realism may be hard to see at Christmastime, when the sentimental side of faith owns the cultural stage. But the Christmas story isn’t just the manger and the shepherds and the baby Jesus, meek and mild.
The rage of Herod is there as well, and the slaughtered innocents of Bethlehem, and the myrrh that prepares bodies for the grave. The cross looms behind the stable — the shadow of violence, agony and death.
In the leafless hills of western Connecticut, this is the only Christmas spirit that could possibly matter now.
From Douglas Wilson:
So we must confess that while the spirit of Christ is alive in the world, the spirit of Herod is not yet gone. And the only way to expel that kind of darkness is to boldly proclaim that Jesus came into this world precisely to destroy this kind of darkness through His death and resurrection. He was born in Bethlehem from Mary, and He was born again in Jerusalem, the first born from the dead. His grave, just like Mary, was full of grace.
This is a darkness that must be confronted, and it can only be confronted by believers who are prepared to wield the gospel—not as a sectarian talking point, but as real gospel for real sin, real balm for real pain, real light for real darkness. So go find your children, hug the little childer, thank God for the life that is in them, and teach them the Christmas story. We need it so much.
Lastly, I share two songs with you. These songs are from Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman and come from the album ”Beauty Will Rise.” These songs were written in response to the heartbreaking loss of one of his daughters in an accident and are thus incredibly poignant in light of the situation in Connecticut (and life in general for that matter).
I hope that these are helpful to you.
Updated on December 16, 2012 with more links and excerpts.