I have had a number of people ask me how I respond to the Sandy Hook shootings from a theological perspective. I’ve written a few responses over the past week, and I suspect I will write more. There is a time for mourning, for silence, for crying out to God, for refusing to accept easy answers or trite consolation. I tried to express some of these thoughts immediately after news of the shooting reached me when I wrote Where Is God When Children Are Murdered Down the Road? I suspect that for families of the children and teachers who died, this need to question and cry out could last for a very long time.
For others, it is already time to ask questions and try to puzzle through answers. I’ve written three different responses this week, reflecting upon how we might respond (What I will Teach My Children After Sandy Hook), how we might think about the complexity of the issues raised (Sin, Sickness, and Sandy Hook), and how we can continue to celebrate Christmas in the midst of such horror (Joy All Year Long, and Even in the Midst of Sorrow).
I have written two other essays in the past that might also contribute some thoughts on grief and hope and where God fits into this sadness:
The Reality of Hope, in which I look back upon the death of my mother-in-law and
Asking Why After a Child’s Accidental Death, in which I address the death of children in particular.
I will conclude with a poem, which is also a prayer, I wrote after some children died in a boating accident during the fourth of July last summer. I continue to pray this as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, and as we plead for Jesus to come again:
I do not want to learn anything more about death
The way it steals and darkens and tears apart
I only want to learn about death overcome
The stories rewritten
The tears wiped away
And all working for good