Brothers, Sisters, Friends & Friends I haven't met yet,
My heart, as are the hearts of many this morning, is filled with grief and overwhelming sympathy for those who experienced loss in yesterday's tragic shooting at Virginia Tech.
In times like these, many turn to each other, to religious institutions, to clergymen and ultimately to God for relief, for peace, for strength and most of all, for answers.
There are many trite answers that we as simple humans can offer. Some will blame it on this nation's disregard for God's teaching. Some will blame it on the home. Some will blame it on the world we live in today. Some will blame it on Satan.
The reality is that this is not new. Throughout history, tragedies like this have happened all over the world. Have you watched the news lately? These things go on around the world every day. Some how those of us in this country have come to feel that these things cannot happen to us. It's time to wake up.
Our mission, as Christians, is not to try to come up with immediate answers . Our mission is to meet the needs of those that are suffering. James famously asked that if we walk by and see those who are hungry, naked and lacking food and only offer the thought, "be ye warmed and filled" without supplying that need, what have we done? James 2:15,16
Luke 10:30-35 records our Lord's teaching about one who helped a victim of tragedy, described as being found half dead. Interestingly enough, it was people of God who refused to help. A Samaritan, one reviled by the people of God, had compassion on him and went out of his way to assist the victim in every way possible. Jesus asked rhetorically, "Which of these was a neighbor to him that was victimized by this tragedy?"
I mention these two passages to say that we of the church should be the first to step up and render aid to those who are suffering. People are much more interested in God when they have seen Him in the actions (outward manifestations) of His followers. This means that we must do more than think to ourselves how awful all of this is. There are many ways we can help victims of tragedies like these. We can pray, we can counsel, we can render financial aid. Depending on the circumstances and our individual abilities, we can go into situations and bend our backs, lend our hands and use our expertise even as we bend our knees. "As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good unto all men..." Galatians 6:10a
When we are obedient to God and do the sometimes backbreaking, heart wrenching work of sowing seeds of love and compassion, it has been said that He will add the increase. Meeting the needs of the many is just one more way that we will ultimately help to create disciples and expand the borders of the Kingdom of God.
Let us endeavor to let the world, especially those in acute need, see that there is a God, THE God, and let Him be seen in us.
May the great God of Heaven grant you every spiritual blessing.