I suppose there is no reason that Churches should be sanctuaries from such awful violence. Evil is evil wherever it is committed. But because I spend a lot of time in Church, killing people during worship or Bible study hits me even harder than other awful things.
Today I also grieve for the eleven-year-old boy killed in a car accident in Agawam last week. This was not evil—the driver certainly didn’t intend to hit the boy, and he was not found to be at fault. But it is a terrible tragedy that has hit Agawam hard.
Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing a few years ago, Bishop Fisher participated in a memorial service. Apparently the participants tried to look forward, to provide a sense of hope even in the midst of fear and loss. That is important work. But, he said, we also need time to lament. Now is a time for lamentation.
Unfortunately horrible things are likely to keep happening, and we cannot lament all the time. There comes a point at which we have to move forward. As people of faith, we continue to affirm our fundamental conviction that God is at work in our world, that we are moving, however painfully, towards God’s kingdom, that justice and love will ultimately defeat hatred and violence and evil.
That remains my conviction, and it enables me to move forward. But first, for me, comes lamentation.