Savior of a Broken World – Connecticut, Afghanistan and Beyond

Friday evening we gathered as a Cabinet for our annual Christmas party.  It is a time of festive, joyous relaxation.  Yet for us, as for you, our mood was chastened.  The news of the shootings in Connecticut at Sandy Hook Elementary School hung over us.  We paused for a time of prayer. Still struggling to process what had taken place, Sunday morning found me in my wife’s Sunday School class at Arborlawn UMC.  The class president, Rick Price, led us in a moving prayer not only for the children and family involved in Connecticut but also for those children around the world in places like Afghanistan who suffer from senseless violence.  The teacher followed with reflections and readings from Psalm 49 and Mark 1. As I listen and learned, it struck me forcibly that the Christmas carols we so easily sing have potency and power I often miss.  I find the temptation to lash out in anguish great.  And yet the words drift over me.  “O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today” (O Little Town of Bethlehem, verse 4).  My need (our need?) is to be less reactive.  Prayer is among our best responses (but not our only response). The gospel of Mark reports, “After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, saying, ‘Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!’” (Mark 1:14-15).  It was and is to a world like this that the Savior comes – to a broken world.  Matthew records the “slaughter of the innocent” in response to the Savior’s birth (see Matthew 2:16-18).  Grief, anguish, lament, even anger are appropriate.  So too is confession and supplication.  Our Savior is born to and for this broken world in Central Texas, Connecticut, Afghanistan and beyond.  “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light” (John 1:5). For those of you who wish to follow up further, the United Methodist Publishing House (Cokesbury) has provided resources (especially for children) in the wake of the tragedy in Connecticut.  Here are a few links: