Thursday, December 20, 2012

God's Role in All of This

There has been a lot of talk about God's role in the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.  I have no more (but no less) a direct line to God than anybody else, but these things I know about God.  Others have been saying these things before me, but they bear repeating.
  1. This tragedy in Newtown was not "all part of God's plan," and it didn't happen because "God wanted another little angel."  We as human beings have free will.  The shooter made his decisions to kill children and adults, not God.  We also have free will in how we respond.  Go listen to the early interview with the father of Emilie Parker: "The person that chose to act this way was acting with a God-given right to use his free agency and God can’t take that away ... that’s what he chose to do with it. I’m not mad [at God, I'm assuming]. I have my own agency to use this event to do whatever I can to make sure my wife and daughters are taken care of."  Robert Parker has it absolutely right.  I was so incredibly impressed with the strength of his faith and his clear understanding.  God wasn't there in the finger pulling the trigger--that was the absence of God, because it was the absence of love, the absence of mercy, and the absence of compassion.
  2. This tragedy is not a "punishment from God for being kept out of schools" nor was it "God's judgement."  God did not choose this.  See point number oneAnd God isn't in the schools?  What a small God that would be!  God was there. 
  3.  It's not true that "God never gives you more than you can handle."  Again, see point number one--God did not give you this tragedy.  Secondly, sometimes we do reach a point where something is more than we can handle.  But please know that you don't have to handle it alone--that's why we have church, and why we have mental health professionals.  If this is more than you can handle, reach out for support.
What is, then, God's role in this tragedy?  God is in the creation of love.  God was present in Victoria Soto when she died trying to shield her students.  God was there in Anne Murphy as she died cradling 6-year-old Dylan Hockley in her arms, dying in an embodiment of a pietà.  God is there in the outpouring of sorrow from this nation.  God is there in the people who are responding with every fiber of their being and their last drop of energy, whether it's standing in vigil, helping to bring the community together, counseling the survivors and family members, burying the dead, or just struggling to fix this broken culture of ours.  God is there in the lights we light in the darkness.  God is there in the touch of a friendly hand.  God is in the love we create.  God is in our response.  

3 comments:

KT Scott said...

Beautiful, Cyn.

Jill said...

My theistic views differ from yours, but I agree entirely with the bold parts of each of your points. I've seen quite a lot of the opposite views said, over and over, in this context and others ("It was God's plan!" "God never gives you more than you can handle!"), so it's always gratifying to see ones like yours. Thank you.

Joel Monka said...

Very, very well said.