As America mourns more loss of innocent, young life in a senseless school shooting, church leaders around the country are thinking about what to say to their congregations on Sunday. churchleaders.com reached out to pastors…and the reaction from many of the pastors we spoke to was the same—“not again”—as they struggled with what to say about God’s love and our culture in the face of such evil. All of the pastors we spoke to were planning to address the shooting in their Sunday worship services.
In Maina Mwaura’s exclusive interview with Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, Moore advises church leaders not to give in to the temptation of easily explaining away evil or where God was as a gunman killed innocent people.
Moore recommends pastors take the same approach to evil as Scripture that talks about the mystery of iniquity. Moore said, “God doesn’t give us the reason why he permitted that to happen or why it seems that God is silent… There are so many times that God’s own prophets are saying, ‘God where are you, you seem to be silent.’” Instead, Moore suggests pastors let their congregants take time to grieve and lament.
This atrocity happened on the first day of Lent, writes Jenny Rapson on foreverymom.com. As church leaders, this cannot be lost on us this Sunday. And as mothers and fathers, our broken hearts resonate with Jenny’s article: “And 17 More in Florida”
Jenny writes: What are we giving up for Lent? Let’s give up, as a country, as a nation, let’s give up WHATEVER IT IS that is keeping us from protecting our kids at school. Let’s give up WHATEVER IT IS that allows people armed with assault rifles and shotguns to keep coming into schools time and time and time and time and time AGAIN to MURDER our children and their teachers. Let’s give THAT up. Let’s identify that thing and then let’s LAY IT DOWN on the altar and sacrifice it so NO MORE CHILDREN have to DIE.
On Monday morning after we’ve comforted our congregations and pointed them to Jesus, what’s next? Where do we go from here? As leaders in our communities, what will we do to help protect our children? What can we do to help people heal?
Following the Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, one student who witnessed the massacre is making a bold plea to lawmakers: “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action and play a role. Work together, come over your politics, and get something done.”
Perhaps we can hear those words as church leaders as we remember that “faith without works is dead.”