Saturday, February 23, 2008

Violence and Salvation

As I write this article, the shootings at Northern Illinois University, outside Chicago, happened just a few days ago. It breaks my heart that this is not the first time this has happened since I entered campus ministry just 18 short months ago. In the wake of horrifying violence yet again, a few things need to be said.

Violence will never heal our wounds or salve our conscience. Whatever our pain, it will not go away by making others suffer, too. The only effective antidote to suffering is healing that comes from God. It may be physical healing, or there may be peace in our hearts and souls. It may mean taking the long road of forgiveness towards someone who has wronged us—or of asking for forgiveness of those we have wronged. Only in Jesus Christ, the Suffering Servant, can we find peace and wholeness again.

I know that a new round of public-policy debate has already begun. Is it too easy for someone to have a concealable weapon? Could such tragedies be prevented if concealed gun permits extended to school campuses?

I don’t know what the answer to the problem is here in the US. But I do know that no amount of weaponry, no personal armory will be sufficient to make us completely secure. We can establish reasonable safeguards, but if someone wants to commit violence against us, they will find a way. How can we be saved from such tragedy?

We are not saved by our own laws; we are not saved by our own guns; we are not saved by our own security plans. We are saved through the grace of Jesus Christ. Grounded in baptismal faith, nothing can change the ending of our story. “For if we have been united with [Christ] in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:5). May God grace us with the ability to turn from our violent past and embrace a just and peaceful future with him.

[written for this week's Wesley UMC Circuit Rider.]

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Lunar Eclipse Feb 20-21

A total lunar eclipse, visible from the USA, will happen Wednesday night thru Thursday morning. For more information, check out NASA's page for the eclipse.