Yesterday's horrific massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut left our country in a state of shock. How can you imagine the unfathomable slaughtering of the innocents? You can't, but yet we can try to empathize with a community who mourns and questions "How did this happen here?".
People react in ways to help them deal with the trauma of the events, and in that process look to "blame" something...anything. The details of the gunman are still scarce, but this is obviously a decision made by an individual with a warped sanity. Thinking individuals can't possible stretch their thoughts far enough to ever see this happening. How could you?
Today is the day that I'm hearing the blaming voices pick up in volume. I'm so very sad by this, and yet I'm starting to get angry. Isn't that part of the grief process? Many are saying that we need God in schools, which I have no argument, but I do have a statement. God IS in schools! There are many Christian teachers and administrators who care and love and pray for their students. There are many Christian students who pray for their fellow students, and teachers and administrators. I am quite sure that God was at Sandy Hook Elementary yesterday morning. Just look at the stories of the teachers protecting their students.
It wasn't the lack of God in that school that allowed a deranged man to shoot innocent children. Do you think if there was prayer in movie theaters that those poor souls in the Colorado theater would have been protected? How about prayer in malls? Maybe that would save us? The fact is prayer should be everywhere. But understand that evil is also everywhere. And slapping up another "Jesus Loves You" billboard, or wearing a "WWJD" bracelet really doesn't do anything to show what Christians are truly supposed to represent. I think both of those advertisements are great, but if the person truly doesn't buy in to the meaning, then what does it matter?
We say the Pledge of Allegiance at my school. I make my students stand and say it, sometimes with serious chastisement. I am under no misconception that this makes them any more patriotic or love our country any more. We have a moment of silence, and I try to keep it quiet. People are allowed to pray. There are student lead bible studies at my school. God is there, but I don't think he needs a government mandated prayer over an intercom to establish residence.
Prayer should be everywhere, every day, all the time by Christians living in today's evil world. Hatred is rampant. Somewhere along the way we've decided, even God loving Christians, that hatred is okay as long as the person "deserves" it. I think Jesus commanded us to "love our neighbor". This was not just a command to love those we liked, because if we only showed respect to those like us, then what difference had Jesus truly made in our lives? Atheists love those that are like them. We are called to ask for God's assistance with this, so that we are not mistaken and piously believe we're so righteously good. He said to love everyone, and that's how the world would know us. So I believe that means we are supposed to show love and respect in the Walmart parking lot, towards those with different political beliefs, those who may not share your views on gun control, or abortion, or religion. I can't find the scripture that says it is just fine with Jesus for you to judge others based on their beliefs or behavior. In fact, I think we are supposed to leave that up to him.
Sometimes as Christians we are so disheartened by the hatred in the world around us, and it leaves us with a sense of helplessness. I believe it's not just that we need God in schools, we need him in our country. First, prayer starts at home, and how you treat those that live with you. Then, comes prayer in your workplace and how you treat your coworkers. Next, is prayer in your community and for your country, and finally is prayer for the strangers and unbelievers. I believe we should have love for all of these, and if not, then we need to ask God to help us with that.
Make no doubt that God was at that school yesterday morning, and his heart broke over the needless murders. But God is with us today too, and he calls us to respond in a manner based on scripture, not on emotion. He calls us to act as Christians in our homes toward our family, on the roads, our social networking posts, and in our community. Saying a prayer out of one side of your mouth while cursing your neighbor with opposing views saddens Him as well.