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The last three days have definitely been, “a time to weep . . . a time to mourn” (Eccl. 3:4). Another mass shooting, this time in the Sandy Hook Elementary School of Newtown, CT.  Like many who have been involved in one of these mass shootings and its aftermath (and many others who have not), I sat glued to the TV, listening to reports that were correct, incorrect and partly correct.  Emotions that lay buried, rushed back with images of crying children, frantic parents, worried grandparents, first responders, law enforcement officials, emergency vehicles, news media, yellow crime-scene tape, press conferences, etc. Two statements got my attention and would not let go. “All the students and staff have been accounted for . . . except there is an entire class missing.” The result would be twenty children, 6 and 7 year-olds, killed as they sat innocent in their classroom.  Our Lord, who loved children so very much, said, “It is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish” (Matthew 18:14). It is comforting to know that nothing about this evil tragedy was God’s perfect will.  In fact, evil did not originate with God.  It originated with man.  With all that is within me, I resist those who glibly say, “This was just God’s will.”  Murder is a violation of God’s command (Exodus 20:13). You cannot take a violation of God’s law and make it God’s will.  The second comment that stuck in my mind was in the form of a question posed by CBS Commentator Bob Schieffer, “Is this the new normal?”  With sixteen such mass shootings in America this year alone, one would have to agree that it is.  I remember the Counselors who assisted in our Wedgwood Baptist Church shooting, telling us that nothing in our minds could comprehend the acts of the lone gunman.  Our minds are like a computer that searches for a file, humming and humming, but not finding it. Likewise, our minds contain no “file” for such senseless acts of violence, especially in places of worship and study.  Further, the Counselors said, “Nothing will be normal again.  You must establish a new normal and move on with life.”  Only those who have been through such tragedies can understand the painful difficulty of establishing a new normal. If for no other reason than the establishment of a new normal, we should pray for the families of the twenty-six deceased, even as we “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).

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