First, from my former supervisor on Internship in the late 90s, Pastor Barry Osterbur, whose own son died in a tragic accident ten years ago next February:
As a father of a child who died tragically, my emotions from nearly 10 years ago have resurfaced enormously since yesterday. I know they cannot equate, however, with those of parents and other loved ones of the Connecticut children who died so young, so violently, so randomly. Consequently, it is difficult to respond from a foundation of faith and hope.
But when God’s grace enables me to try, I give thanks: for Principal Dawn Hochsprung’s heroic sacrifice, for teacher Katlin Riog’s calm, clear-headed protection of her class, for ALL first-responders and others who worked through a horrendous situation, for Msgr. Robert Weiss’s faithful articulation of caring and support, and President Obama’s emotional & empathetic leadership. There are many others, too…and for all, the world owes profound thanks.
I am also drawn to what has comforted and inspired me before, from Romans 8: “…I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor power, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” …and as many of us will hear from John 1 at Christmas services in 10 days: “The light shines in the darkness, and darkness did not overcome it.”
And then this, from a former classmate of mine at St. Olaf, Anna Madsen (’91):
And finally, this prayer for all the families of the victims:
Prince of Peace, we lift before you the families and friends of the victims of Friday’s shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Words cannot express the sadness we each feel when lives are taken so violently, especially when children are involved. We mourn for every child and adult who was killed. Hold fearful and broken hearts in your wounded hands, move us to self-giving compassion that bears one another’s burdens, and raise us up and send us, every one of us, as peacemakers and angels of mercy in this broken Advent world. Come, Lord Jesus. Amen.