Thursday, April 19, 2007

That They May Have Life 

Last night, I set aside my plans to begin a study on the Epistle of James with the Youth in order that we might take the entire evening's meeting to share thoughts and feelings about what happened at Virginia Tech. It proved a worthy endeavor. I remember times in my youth when a teacher or professor would out and out cancel whatever plans they had for class that day in order to discuss some current event that carried more import than their lesson, and I remember always being thankful they did that.

So, taking a page from their book, after our check-in time, I inquired, "Does anybody have anything they want to say about what happened at Virginia Tech this week?" Instantly 3 or 4 hands went up, and by the end of the evening, I think everyone had spoken. It did me good to hear what these young persons had to say and I hope it did them good to have an open forum where they could work through their feelings about this with their friends. The tragedy touched one of the Youth a little closer than most - his best friend's older brother was among those killed at VT.

The discussion ranged from such questions as "Why?" to a pretty thorough discussion of gun-control measures. Everyone was upset and some were scared. Above all, it struck me that there was a need to be together and to talk about it together. I don't know if their classes in school afforded them the same opportunity, but I hope so.

At one point, one student said that a person he knows from school thought that maybe Cho Seung-Hui was being used as the arm of the Lord, as in "the rod of [the Lord's] anger...the club of [the Lord's] wrath." (Isaiah 10:5) I think the idea was some sort of avenging angel.

I took the opportunity to interrupt the queue of hands that had been raised to address this idea specifically. I said that I hope everyone in this room understands that this is a wrong idea. That the God we believe in would not act in this way. I read them a passage from the Gospel of John (10:9-10) the most important part of which was,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

And again, from 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11,
"For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing."
The point was that no matter what else these killings were, they were not of God. It was important for them to understand that. We concluded the evening with the Litany at Time of Death. I hope it was a meaningful evening for them. It certainly was for me.



Thanks for posting this. It is lovely.

By Blogger Tripp Hudgins, at 12:07 PM  

Strangely enough, on the drive home today I was thinking about a (chem) professor at Wake that did the exact opposite of what you did on Sept 11.

I still get irritated thinking about him proceeding to lecture because "they win if we interrupt our normal activities."

Good choice, Ryan.

By Anonymous Hudd, at 4:27 PM  

I too, have been disturbed by the way some portray this event, as some sort of tantrum by a wrathful God. As Christians, we are called to a higher standard than that. I found your blog insightful and your thoughts glorious. Thank you!

By Blogger Suzanne, at 11:55 AM  

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