Rev. Dr. Judy Allbee, executive minister of the American Baptist Churches of Connecticut, shares the following reflection in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Friday, December 14.
“And the land rested from war.” (Joshua 11) For a brief period of time there was no violence. That statement has haunted me over the years because it seems so elusive and it haunts me on this day as well; a day when little children and the adults who cared for them were murdered. It is incomprehensive and overwhelming. I am reminded of the words in Jeremiah , “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
Our hearts are broken. Our feeble words are garbled in our weeping for babies and parents and teachers and families. We weep for the police and the medical people who had to see this. We weep for all whose lives have been ripped apart by bullets. We weep at our own sense of helplessness and we try to find God in all this. By faith I know that God’s arms are wrapped around those teachers this day.
Many have strongly spoken about more gun control, more laws, better protection in our schools. We do have laws, the school did have a security system and yet one man was determined to get in and in violence took away innocent lives.
We are angry and there are many angry words being spoken and written. Yet I am reminded of Martin Luther King’s words, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
My prayer this day is most especially for those families whose babies will never come home, for the families of the educators who tried to protect the children in their care and paid for it with their very lives. I pray also this day for our pastors who will speak to congregations with words they may be finding hard to form. I pray for all of us who seek peace and an end to this senseless violence.
Rev. Dr. Judy Allbee
American Baptist Churches of Connecticut