Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thoughts on the Tragic Events at Newtown, Connecticut

The tragic events that occurred in Connecticut last week have again shaken the people of this nation in the deepest of places. In a season where we hold to peace on earth and goodwill to men, a season in which we seek to believe the best in our fellow man, we are reminded that at times what we get is the worst of man. There is no way to make sense of the tragic killing of innocent children. We clamor for answers to questions we can never know. We want to know the "why" of the events, both in the mentality of the killer but it seems more so in why God would allow this incident to take place. I have heard over the last several days the lamenting questions... where was God? Why did God allow this to happen?

God was there. Brokenhearted. Receiving His children. Lamenting the death of the wicked. Here is reality... sin is alive and well in the world we live. Evil is very real and incidents like this remind us of the destructive nature of sin in man. Sadly, the death of these innocent children and loving adults were not the only such deaths that day. Martovia Lang, a Memphis Police officer, was gunned down that same morning as she served an arrest warrant. Her partner was critically wounded in the shooting. She would leave behind 4 children who will never make sense of the loss of their mother. We struggle with these deaths more so in this season because it is Christmas. This is meant to be a season of joy and happiness.

However, these incidents, as well as the many other senseless actions that take place on a daily basis, remind us all the more why Christmas was necessary. Christmas means more than a baby in a manger. This baby, born of a virgin, was the Son of God, who would take on flesh and dwell among us. He would live in perfect obedience to the Father and would willingly die a cruel and humiliating death for the sinfulness of man. The death of Jesus is truly the ultimate picture of the death of the innocent. He would willingly lay down His life to pay the penalty for the sinfulness of man. And He would come back from the grave on the third day conquering not only death but sin in man. Christmas reminds us of the greatest gift... salvation for the lost.
That is pleasant and palatable when we consider the lost children and teachers in Newtown, Connecticut. It is understandable and reasonable when we think of Martovia Lang who was serving the needs of man. What is unfathomable for us is that same love and salvation was offered to Adam Lanza. Jesus died for Him too. And as the heart of God broke for the beautiful children and adults killed by his hand, so too, did God's heart break in the death of Adam Lanza. For as we read in Ezekiel 18, God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked but rather that they turn from their wicked ways and live. The bible teaches us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are told that the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus. We read that God demonstrated His love for us in this... while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That includes the wicked. That includes the depraved. That includes you and me.

So while we may never make sense of the senseless, there yet remains hope that springs eternal in Jesus Christ. Jesus has warned us that the days will remain evil. Our hope is this… he has conquered sin. Today is a day that remains joyful because of that reason alone. Our hearts will long ache for the tragedy of Newtown. This will not be the last time our hearts break for senselessness and evil. So today, we cling to Christ. Today, we profess His truth to those in need. Today, we are called to bind up the brokenhearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, to share the oil of gladness instead of mourning found in the good news of Jesus Christ.

-Pastor Mike