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A call to pray and mourn
News may fade, but Justice does not.
This is what the Lord Almighty says: "Once again men and women of ripe old age will sit in the streets of Jerusalem, each of them with cane in hand because of their age. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls playing there."
It is so very hard to imagine the city streets filled with children playing this week.
It is unimaginably difficult to know that 19 children in Uvalde were playing, smiling, learning, growing, dreaming, and being hugged and held by their parents until this Tuesday.
It is unbearable to see the immense loss of their parents, siblings, grandparents, and families as they held on to the pictures of their little ones, now gone.
Yet, like many other mass shootings in our very recent history. We, those of us who are removed from the events, will often forget. The news and media move on, and our eyes wander to the next violent spectacle. As sinners in ignorance, we forget and pretend it will never again; we convince ourselves that change is not needed, especially change that requires long, hard work as well as the giving up of our rights and idols. We believe we can have it all and control it all; sin and all our vices. And because of that, justice will never be satisfied through us. We are just too weak, too prone to our own lies, and too self-centred to face the truth.
And what is the truth we feared? Could it be that deep inside, we know if we are judged today by the justice we wish was there this Tuesday, that we, too, will fall short by a horrific margin?
Even though I am not an American with a say on their gun laws, I, as God’s kingdom people, am still accountable and connected to every soul living on this very planet. My prayers, or lack of, against unjust laws, corruption, war-mongering, greed and hidden evils are an indictment of my still self-centred nature. The world should not be this way, and I failed to keep my eyes open; I failed to fervently petition for change and justice through prayer.
If even Jesus, before he was arrested, spent his darkest hours in prayers, asking his disciples to do the same. Should we not also do the same when we feel the weight of evil and sin crushing this world? Shouldn't we pray deeper and be more committed as a church? Not to forget and make the pain and sorrow easier to swallow, but rather pray that the God of justice will have grace and mercy on all of us. Pray that God will lead us to know the scars and misery of sin and, at the same time, be ever so grateful for the undeserved righteousness that Christians have through faith in Jesus.
We need to pray for God to act in this world and in us. We need to pray for change, and for His kingdom come. We pray because it is our duty and nature to do so as God's people—His royal priesthood. We can't afford to forget and ignore as the world does so easily. So let us faithfully pray together for the most vulnerable in our midst and believe our God will hear and answer.
May our Lord Jesus Christ be with each and every family who has lost their child this week. Lead us to mourn with them this very hour and every hour.
May our God protect every child in all corners of this world; protect them from harm, neglect, abuse, and evildoers.
May every street be filled with children playing without fear. Amen.