Special Edition- Las Vegas

Oct 4, 2017 by

Special Edition-      Las Vegas

“Jesus wept.”– John 11:35

 

I believe with all of my heart that God is weeping at the blatant display of evil that the world has witnessed in Las Vegas, Nevada.  When Jesus saw the grief and sorrow that the death of Lazarus caused to those who loved him, the Scripture tells us that He was, “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” (John 11:33).  God takes no delight in the evil that exists in our world.  He is troubled over the terrible and tragic ways that sin has corrupted His wonderful Creation.  Acts of hatred and anger; acts of pure evil, are an affront to our God whose very nature is love.

 

And I believe He is equally troubled by the way we have become immune to some of the horrors that ravage God’s world.  While this appears to be the worst mass shooting event in our history, these catastrophes have been happening with unnerving regularity.  And the response is equally predictable.  The world will cry out in pain and anger for a moment.  “Pray for Las Vegas” will become a popular slogan for a time.  Politicians will issue statements; almost immediately some will begin using this terrible moment in support of or in defense of one agenda or another.  Church leaders will issue calls to prayer and unity.

 

And then we will move on to the next catastrophe.

 

But what if we finally said, “Enough!”?

 

After all, God doesn’t just weep over the injustice and cruelty that affects His beloved Creation.  He did something about it.

 

“Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

 

As I watched the footage of the carnage in Las Vegas, my heart ached for all of the people whose lives are now forever changed by the acts of a madman.  For the senseless loss of human life–life valued and cherished by God.  My mind can barely comprehend how someone can be so heartless; so evil.  And my soul longs for the day that Jesus returns and sorrow and heartache is no more.  I pray for the victims; I pray for their families; I pray for our communities, our nation and our world.  And I invite and encourage you to do the same.

 

But I also know that there is hope.  I know that the church carries an incredible message of healing, mercy, grace, comfort and love.  In times like this–in the face of evil, in a nation still reeling from natural disasters and hurting from divisions too numerous to count–it can be hard to believe that there can ever be hope for peace.

 

But Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

 

By the power of the Holy Spirit, the Church of Jesus Christ has an opportunity to show our communities that there can be real healing.  That there can be real peace.  That there can be real hope.

 

I am convinced, now more than ever, that the Church must be witness to the grace and peace of Jesus Christ in real and meaningful ways. As we pray for Las Vegas, let us also pray for the courage and strength to move forward, united in purpose and action.  Let us show the world that the Church can be a place that stands against the unbridled evil and hatred in this world.  That we stand on the promises of God and we will be a united front against the sin that so corrupts this earth.  That we will–in the name of our Lord and Savior–be a refuge of civility and kindness.  A stronghold of love.  A haven of hope.

 

May the Prince of Peace shine His grace and love through this tragedy in mighty ways.  May His Church be an agent of hope and healing.  May His Spirit flow through your families, into our community, and be a Light to this land.  May those who suffer find healing; may those who mourn find comfort; may those whose hearts are filled with anger find love; and may we all find peace.

 

In Jesus’ name.

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