Chapel Hill Presbyterian Church

Go

Chapel Hill Blog

A Vigil and a Seahawk

Posted by Pastor Mark Toone on

On Monday morning I sent out an emergency blog regarding the shocking assault on a crowd of concert-goers in Las Vegas the night before. Like all of you, I was having trouble grasping the enormity of the carnage. At the time, we were receiving reports of 50 dead and some 400 wounded. I challenged you, as part of your prayers, to simply count from 1 to 450 in order to humanize the numbers. As it turns out, that number was off by more than 100 with 58 killed and more than 500 wounded. 

We were shocked Monday, all of us. But are we still? One of the horrible consequences of our violence-saturated culture and media is how quickly we stop being shocked…and how indifferently we mourn. Perhaps it is simply self-preservation; maybe we think that putting it behind us as quickly as possible—stuffing down the emotions as deeply as possible—will help us move on. 

The Bible disagrees. Large chunks of the Old Testament are taken up with psalms of lament. These ancient songs which were sung as part of their worship services, honestly and sometimes rawly, depicted their anger or grief or sorrow, and many times, their disappointment with God. Why didn’t God come through? Why didn’t He step in? Why do such evil things happen? 

In other words, some of the same things we are thinking right now. Fortunately, most of those psalms don’t end there. They return to the same place we must return: to a righteous, loving God who, far from remaining indifferent to our sufferings, entered into them fully. Every religion must have an answer to the question of evil, and Christianity’s is unique. To the question, “Don’t you care, God?” comes the answer, “I care so much that I’m sending my son right into the middle of your suffering.” 

We have no easy answers, but this weekend we will face the questions squarely. We will see what Romans has to say about this evil act, we will take significant time to pray for those whose lives and health and peace were stolen, and we will offer a glimpse of hope, a hope that the world does not have. 

Please come this weekend. Join us as we mourn our fellow citizens, as we celebrate the acts of heroism, and as we declare the hope that is ours in our savior/judge, Jesus Christ. 

Pastor Mark 

P.S. For weeks we had planned on a surprise visit this weekend from Clint Gresham, the long snapper for the Super Bowl-winning Seahawks. In light of the Las Vegas attack, I fully expected to reschedule his interview to another time… until I spoke with Clint and realized how powerfully his testimony speaks to the faithfulness of God even in times such as these when He is hidden from us. You will be blessed to hear from this brother.

Comments