The Day After
I stood outside my littlest boy's elementary school today and stared up at the flagpole where the American flag and Texas flag stood at half-mast.
The flags were displayed thusly because of the horrible tragedy in Uvalde, TX yesterday that claimed the lives of 19 elementary school students and two of their teachers.
As I stood there, a father who had just dropped off his child walked by me and said: "It's so unbelievably sad, isn't it?" I said that it was. We looked knowingly at one another for a moment, and then he moved on.
So I prayed then as I looked over the buildings where my son has spent the last nearly six years of his life---halls, and playgrounds that he knows so well, teachers who have taught him, and cared for him...
I prayed that he and everyone in those buildings would be safe today, the day after that, and for always.
With my eyes filling with tears, I prayed that I would live to see the day when we would be freed from the sinful systems that perpetuate such horrific acts of violence.
I prayed for a day when as citizens we would no longer be afraid when we send our kids to school... or we go to the supermarket... attend church
I prayed for hope, even as the words of Sen. Corey Booker echoed in my ears from a video he posted today:
"And so forgive me, I've got no hopeful message. My hope is on the ground. But if there's anything I know it's that this is what it's all about. Hope doesn't sit on the sidelines, and doesn't wish for change. Hope sacrifices for it, sweats for it... dies for it... real hope has to be resurrected again and again and again."
I so needed to hear that today, especially as I stood outside my son's school praying for his safety and the safety of all of our children and teachers in every school across our country.
I also realized something else at that moment.
I felt powerfully convicted to say more and do more in my roles as a pastor, preacher, and church leader to point my congregation and anyone who might be listening to the Way of Christ in these trying times.
Because the Way of Christ leads us to love, and love wins. It wins over the powers of darkness and all of the evil that might assail it. And the hope that is born in resurrection demonstrates that in ways that we can only imagine.
Last night a terrific storm passed over Austin, bringing with it high winds and torrential rain. We lost power in the middle of the night, and the rain and winds beat on my windows with no small amount of force.
But when the dawn broke, the sun came out and the sky was a deep and glorious blue. There were signs of the storm all around, to be sure, but it had passed, giving way to light, life, and the songs of birds.
Real hope is resurrected again and again... all around us, and if we are open to it... even within us. Those in the Way of Christ are people of hope---the kind born out of love and carried forward in faith.
May we journey in Christ's Way today and every day after this day. May it be so. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.