News came in slowly over several hours. The phrase, “active shooter situation” that just a couple of years ago would have meant nothing to use was being used again. By time the facts were becoming more clear we learned of Christmas party interrupted by two people who should have been celebrating. Instead they showed up with guns in hand and as of this writing 14 are known dead and 17 are wounded in the California Shooting.
Today people will search for motives and try to uncover “what went wrong.” The answer I am afraid is not that complicated. We have more evidence of just how broken by sin our world is. We see people who relationships with their co-workers are broken. Their idea of the value of life is broken. Their view of both justice and forgiveness is broken.
Broken. It is a word that I can not seem to get away from. It is an idea that our world is blind to its true reality. It describes everything from the planet on which we spin to the very cells in our body. I have begun work on my latest book, due out Spring 2016, mysteriously entitled, Broken.
The headlines in the Daily News about the California Shooting expresses the thoughts of so very many in our world today. The airwaves are filled with unbelievable reports; middle east beheadings, the Paris Terrorism, Police investigations, gang violence, abortion, and domestic violence. We hear from America what sounds so much like the cry of the Psalmist:
How long, O Lord, will you look on? Rescue me from their destruction, my precious life from the lions!
Psalm 35:17 (ESV)
It seems to many that God is silent, or uncaring, or unable to do anything to stop the plague of violence. The frequency of these events are growing and they seem to be hitting closer to home for all of us. The world is looking for quick fixes to these issues, gun control, more screening at airports, stop immigration, and other proposed ideas.
[Tweet “The headline reads “GOD ISN’T FIXING THIS” The Advent headline should be “GOD HAS FIXED THIS.” “] In this season we see that God has interviewed in our broken world and has himself become broken for us.
I too long for the day that Christ will return and remove us from this broken world and take us to the un-broken, perfect place that He has prepared for me. But before you start crying out, “that’s great for then, but what about now.” This same Jesus who came as a baby in Bethlehem, who lived a sinless life, died on the cross, arose on the third day and is coming again for us is Emmanuel.
Emmanuel – God With Us! He is here not and He is the answer to the hostility and violence of this world. The trouble is that His presence is being removed from this and many other societies as irrelevant at best, and problematic at the worst. I am to blame. I take responsibility that Christ has not been as visible in my world as he should be. I need to not only Ponder what God has done, and is doing in my world but also proclaim it to everyone I see.
Here is a chance. today and in the days that follow an event like the California Shooting, we are able to give a clear witness to those in fear, and frustration. We can talk about a world broken by sin and the effect that has on the relationships we have with one another. We can talk about a savior who broke himself for us to restore the relationship. We can remind people that our God is not inactive in this, he is storing up his wrath against those who would deny his name and harm his children. We can talk about the Grace of God that sends peace to a troubled heart in the midst of awful situations.
We must also remember, that in this world redeemed by the Lord Jesus Christ, we still live as broken people, in a broken church, with broken relationships, BUT we are not without hope for the day when his return will make all things perfect! So in these days lets remind ourselves of the call to rescue the lost and broken in this world.
17 But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. 18 They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. 20 But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. 22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear–hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.
24 To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy– 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.
Jude 1:17-25 (NIV)
I pray for the victims and families involved in the California Shooting, I thank God for those who came to their aid and rescue and I pray that I can proclaim Hope in this season of Advent.