Tragedy in Connecticut-A Call for Prayers, Peace and Hope

By Dr. Angelique Walker-Smith, Vice-Chair, Home Mission Board |  December 17, 2012

Advent? In a season of joyful expectations, hope and light that has a focus on the Christ child, children and family we see yet once again how the darkness still looms when on yesterday the precious lives of children and adults were snuffed out at the hands of a gunman in Connecticut. Sadly, this kind of tragedy is becoming all too familiar. This is the case not only today but in the memory of ancient times as we remember the origins of the holiness of the season today that includes Advent and Hanukkah. Indeed such a recognition of this holy season makes Friday' s tragedy even more painful and a brutal attack of what is so dear and close to us, our children.

While the seasons of Advent and Christmas are properly understood as a seasons of celebration, these seasons have also been haunted by the darkness of violence and evil as well. The sad reality is that the announcement of the birth of Jesus and the actual birth of Jesus was also considered a threat. Indeed orders were given to kill Jesus and all the baby boys up to age 2 in Jerusalem. “We are told the following:  When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled.

In sum, the life of Jesus was spared but the there was also great suffering and death of the baby boys who did not make it to Egypt or other places of refuge. Similarly there were children and adults whose lives were spared in Connecticut but lives also taken. Such a bitter sweet reality leaves us with an age old question of when will the violence stop? Although we are very blessed to live in a democratic and free republic called the USA, each of us are still left with this question to not only ponder in our hearts and souls but to do this together in community that includes faith, public and private sectors, families, schools etc. Tragedies like the one in Connecticut remind us how important it is for us to come together to pray, help each other and find renewed ways to live peacefully.

May we join faith leaders in Connecticut who have already started a series of prayer vigils and process of outreach to the families and community and a process for reflecting on the deeper questions of peacemaking not only in Connecticut but throughout our country. May we offer a prayer of remembrance for all the families and the community directly affected by the Connecticut tragedy and remember the words of scripture that remind us of the blessings that come to us at this time of mourning and challenge.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.