“A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they are no more.” Matthew 2:18 (quoting Jeremiah).
Sometimes these ancient words come too close for comfort. As we watch the weeping on TV and feel no consolation for the events of this past Friday in Newtown, Connecticut, we are reminded of senseless violence that touches our communities every day. This is a moment when that reminder is especially sharp. We pray for parents of children barely older than our own children and grandchildren that we take to preschool or kindergarten every day, and for their teachers. They were, but for the Grace of God, our children, grandchildren and teachers. We pray with all of them in mind. And we also weep with the mother, now gone, of the young man whose desperation, illness, and rage led him to such a horrific act. My wife noticed an armed Scottsdale PD presence this morning when dropping our grandchildren off at school. I treasure Free Will for mankind, and am reminded again that such freedom is not free.
We all weep. And we all seek consolation and reassurance of God’s presence in the midst of a world in which God does not seem to be in control. It is worth recalling the lament of Rachel in this scripture from Matthew that is part of Jewish history and faith as well as the Christian story of Christmas. It came in the wake of King Herod’s order that innocent children be slaughtered. Herod wanted to kill the hope of the Christ child. But that hope could not be killed – even by earth shattering violence, even by irrational rage, even by tragic evil.
The human spirit, however, trumps evil. Hope lives on. It must. And for the children, it must be through you.
Please join me in prayer and support for the community of Newtown and for all who suffer at the hands of violence this day. We pray for our own communities. Above all, please present a hopeful message to your children and grandchildren as only you can. They are watching you. They grow up soon enough.