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Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Echoes Blog

I was getting ready for Sunday morning worship when I heard the news of the most resent shooting and my first response was, “Not another one.” The shooting in the Orlando nightclub was one of the most devastating shootings thus far in American history. 

Each time there is another shooting it seems like it can’t get any worse. Sandy Hook taught us that being an innocent child at school doesn’t keep you safe, spending time doing your favorite things like running and going to the movies are not places you are free of worry, and holiday parties don’t end exactly as we expect. Each person is hurt, and not just those who died or have physical wounds from a mass shooting, but the emotional, spiritual and mental wounds touch many of us who aren’t even close to one of those locations. 

It is hard to understand how one or two people can hurt a nation and the world through such violence. It is difficult to comprehend what kind of hate the shooter had to kill so many people.  It is incomprehensible that our human life can be taken when our defenses are down.

On the news and in social media I see two responses. The first is of sadness and grief for the loss of 49 people.  It is a beautiful thing to watch the people in our country, who have been focused on the political race, the basketball score and our weather, to center on people whom they never met and might not agree with, by stopping to pray for their families, are saddened by their death, and are angry on their behalf.

The second is of blame. Blame is being laid upon gun sellers and holders, on the NRA, the FBI, the shooter’s wife, and more. I am not saying that there is or is not some fault by those listed, but it is not all their responsibility. Blame is often our first gut reaction to find out whose fault it is.  We do it so naturally, from the small things of why we spilled coffee on shirt to why Omar Mateen decided to drive 90 miles to Pulse night club and kill 49 people. 

Brene Brown says “blame is the discharge of discomfort and pain. It has an inverse relationship to accountability, and accountability by definition is a vulnerable process.” When we blame, we are afraid and spend all of our energy raging about fault and facts instead of being able to live in muck and mess of loss, hurt and pain. 

This past week at VBS we taught our kids how to be lights in the world, and their own light matters. I believe that is true for all of us. While we don’t have the looking glass to see into the future and know where, when or how the next attack might take place, we can shine God’s light in the world without blame of someone or something. We can love all people instead of hating some or hurting others. We can show grace when others or ourselves make mistakes. We teach the truth that God is in this place no matter what. We can pray, and when we don’t know how to pray because we are angry, hurt or scared, we sit with God, because He also is angry, hurt and knows we are scared.