There are no words to adequately address the tragedy that occurred late last week in Newtown, CT. The pain of unspeakable loss cannot be eased by our reflections and remembrances, no matter how poignant or appropriate. And yet, to remain silent feels impossible. There is a deep need in the human person to call wrong “wrong,” to identify and name that which is broken and marred by sin. Similarly, we must voice our tributes and memories though they will inevitably fall short. Above all, we must lament; we must grieve. But how to grieve without being driven to utter despair? How to lament without drowning in the same sorrow we are cursing?
Our only hope remains that God has broken and will again break into our world of grief and lament. As scripture demonstrates, in the past he heard the wails of his exiled people and responded by sending Jesus Christ to live among us. In this way, the love of God was made manifest (1 Jn 4:9). In the same way, we now find ourselves wailing, calling for his return. And yet, our grief—bitter as it should be—is not a hopeless grief. Because of Christ’s dying and rising during his first advent, we can be assured that, though we die, we will rise at his second advent. This is not trite theologizing, this is good news: Jesus defeated death. In the face of indescribable suffering, resurrection is our only hope.
As those who now live between the two advents of Christ, it is ours to mourn, pray, and actively seek peace. Let us join our hearts with Newtown in mourning this unimaginable tragedy. Let us join our hearts in ceaseless prayer for a community that has been shattered by grievous evil—praying for tangible expressions of God’s comfort and care through individuals, churches, and institutions. And let us seek peace with God and neighbor. May the not-rightness of our world cause us to turn to the One who has promised to make all things right. May our broken relationships be reconciled in light of God’s selfless, reconciling love. He is our hope. There is no other.