My original posts planned for this week were to continue with the idea of purpose as we talk about the spirituality of ordinary tasks and we’ll do that but I’m going to adjust our focus a bit because the horrific extraordinary events of this past week (and so many other violent events this past year) DO reshape us and affect our ordinary. And we need to pay attention to how we allow them reshape us.
We could come to a point where they just become another sensational story on the news.
We could enlarge our blinders and say “never where I live” as we maintain what we think is ordinary.
We could let our fear cause us to distrust our fellow human beings.
We could seek retaliation instead of justice and revenge instead of social responsibility and accountability.
We could let these horrific events shape our worldview.
We can allow Jesus to shape our view of the world into a kingdomview of compassion, love, grace, and forgiveness.
We begin in the place of lament: sitting with the pain and grief that acknowledges that the world is broken and hurting. People, God’s beloved children, are in pain and are suffering. And we face this not with some pie-in-the-sky, toxic positivity of “don’t cry, everything will be alright” but allowing God’s promise of redemption to strengthen us in our sorrow.
As we talk about and pray about and think about the situations, we can choose to keep it human. Instead of talking about generic victims and shooters or any other labels, we choose to know their names:
Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Denny Stong, Neven Stanisic, Rikki Olds, Tralona Bartkowiak, Eric Talley, Teri Leiker, Suzanne Fountain, Kevin Mahoney, Lynn Murray, and Jody Waters.
We speak their names in prayer knowing they are God’s beloved children and because praying changes and shapes us. We make it personal because these are persons, our fellow human beings, and the good life we are created for is to be humans as image bearers of God of our creator.
And yes, we must also pray for Robert Aaron Long and Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa because they, too, are loved by God their Creator.
How we pray today shapes us for tomorrow and all of the ordinary and extraordinary events of our lives. Amen.