Jesus Said, “Now my soul is troubled.” Indeed all of our souls are troubled. We have witnessed something this day that is beyond words, a tragedy beyond description. The television has brought into our homes and our work places scenes of violence and devastation that we would have thought unimaginable. Hundreds if not thousands of people killed and injured. The apparent safety of our nation breached by human beings so angry, so twisted that they crash airplanes into buildings killing innocent people indiscriminately. What kind of a world is it that we live in for this type of thing to happen? What can we say and do that will make a difference?
There are no words that are adequate on this day. There are no sentiments that can begin to touch the horror of today’s events. There are no words equal to the task of offering comfort and hope to so many who have been wounded or who have lost loved ones in the events of this morning. It will take all of us many days and weeks to even begin to comprehend what has happened.
However, as Christians there is something we can cling to, something we can reach out for even during the worst of times – the God of love, the God of hope. Our faith teaches us that although evil seems to run rampant in our world evil is not the victor, evil does not prevail. I imagine Jesus standing on the
southern edge of Manhattan or near the Potomac river proclaiming the very same words that we read this evening – “Father, save me from this hour? No, it is for this reason that I have come to this hour.” It is for this reason that I have come to this hour . . . . The God of our faith comes to this world to take upon him the very hatred the very anger, they very evil that leads human being to kill each other in such horrible ways. Whether it is the destruction on our shores that we have seen today, the horrors of the holocaust or the violence and injustice of the Middle East – our God comes to take these things, the worst of who we are, to the cross. He bears them, alone, letting them be nailed to the tree with him. Such horrible events have happened before and such horrible events will happen again, but they do not have the last word. Because on the other side of the cross, on the other side of death and evil there is resurrection, there is the promise of life, life everlasting, life where there is no hatred, life where there is no evil, life where there is only joy.
But what do we do now? Jesus said, “Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you. If you walk in the darkness, you do not know where you are going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of light.” What do we do now? We walk. We move forward into an uncertain future making our way as best as we can. But always, always we cling to the light. We cling to what is good, we cling to what is loving and uplifting, to what is hopeful and compassionate. We strive for justice and we pray for the gift of forgiveness. There is enough darkness in this world. On a day such as this the darkness seems everywhere, as if it might over take us. But it will not overtake us as long as we
cling to the light. As long as we cling to the God willing to die for all of us, even those of us who would kill our neighbor, as long as we cling to the God of mercy and life then we are not lost and this life is not lost.
Pray this day for all those who have been hurt and killed. Pray for their families and the unimaginable pain they are experiencing. Pray for all those who are struggling to help – the doctors, nurses, firefighters, police officers and paramedics. Pray that they might have strength and the grace to face the days ahead. Then pray for our country. Pray that we might have not only the strength but also the wisdom that we need to face this time. Pray for our president, our armed forces and all the leaders of this nation.
Each of us is full of emotion this night, many different emotions – sadness, grief, shock, disbelief, worry, fear and anger. Give yourself permission to feel. Give yourself permission to grieve and to mourn an event that will forever change the face of our nation. But do not give into the temptation to let your pain turn into hatred. Do not let your anger become an excuse to seek vengence. As a nation we must seek justice not just vengence. To allow ourselves to simply hate is to reduce ourselves to the level of our enemies who know only hate. Cling to the light. Cling to hope. In the midst of things we cannot understand cling to Christ.
God bless this great land of ours and all her people. Amen.