Events at Tech lead us to cry: Enough of this!

5/1/2007

By Jon Altman

Guest Columnist

 

The news is both heartbreaking and heartbreakingly familiar. A gunman shoots apparently randomly at a school. The stories of victims are told:

 

A Holocaust survivor who held a door closed so that his students could escape out the window

A promising scholar who was the father of young children

A Lebanese American young woman who had won a contest with a belly dance.

 

Then we hear about the shooter: “a loner,” a writer of angry and frightening stories, a man who resisted accepting the Christian faith of his mother. We seek to make sense of the senseless and we just can’t.

 

Maybe those of us of the Christian faith remember that last night of Jesus’ life. A disciple says, “We have two swords.” Jesus says “It is enough.” (Luke 22: 38) Later, when a disciple actually uses a sword, Jesus says “No more of this!” (Luke 22: 51) and heals the one wounded by the sword.

 

Jesus knew the kind of violence that lurks just below the surface of human behavior and how it could manifest itself in our lives together. The way he faced his own death and rebuked violence by his disciples demonstrates to me that Jesus wants to heal us of the bent toward violence that is so deeply ingrained in us. The resurrection which we proclaim in this Easter season is a sign for the church and for the world that such healing is central to God’s will for the world.

 

Somehow, a young man in Virginia could not really “hear” that invitation to healing, though his parents exposed him to Christian teaching and Christian worship. May God empower us to seek out those “lost souls” within our community and maybe even within our church with the good news of God’s healing of violence through Jesus. May we say with Jesus, “No more of this!”

 

Altman is pastor of Ovett and Moselle United Methodist churches. This column appeared in the churches’ newsletter.