In the Wake of National Tragedy
By Fr. Greg Methvin | August 5, 2019
Dear St. Philip’s Family,
Even though I am on vacation this week, my heart is heavy from this fresh wave of terrible violence. Happening to our El Paso neighbors takes the tragedy off of TV and brings it close to home. My youngest remembers the shooter from her days in middle school.
Followers of Jesus hurt with the grieving and search for ways to bind up the wounds. But many of us feel helpless in the face of repeated tragedies and all of the toxic commentary that follows in its wake. There are some things we can do.
Pray fervently. Pray for the grieving families, wounded victims and exhausted responders. Pray for our state and national leaders who bear the burden of speaking wisely and acting effectively to help prevent these national terrors. Prayer is more than throwing a wish into the air. Prayers move mountains, heal wounds, and awaken hearts.
Speak responsibly. If the “tongue is a fire” (James 3:6), let’s be careful to warm others with our words and not burn. Much attention is already being paid to how political speech, inflammatory TV news and poisonous postings contribute to these tragedies. I can’t control what others say, but I can certainly take responsibility for what I say. Let’s invite the Holy Spirit to search and judge what we think and say about others. Let’s avoid the temptation to demean, hate and spew destructive anger as we discuss and debate ways to heal and help our country.
Act wisely. While we can’t fix everything, we can stand for something. Standing includes loving and respecting ALL people, rejecting hateful speech and the company of those who use it, supporting political leaders and public servants who strive to protect us and provide meaningful solutions. We can no longer fold our arms in disapproval or shake our heads in dismay. As Bill Bright liked to say, “What we DO is what we believe. All the rest is religious talk.”
Know you are in my prayers and I am glad we can lean on and learn from one another in these difficult days. But greater still are Jesus’ words which reminds us that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).