Where are My Children?
James 1:26 ¶ If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless.
James 1:27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 2:13 For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
James 2:14 ¶ What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you?
James 2:15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food,
James 2:16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?
James 2:17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
I'm watching a beautiful sunrise over East Ohio. A new day is dawning, and yet I know that for many people this day brings with it a greater realization of the horrors of yesterday. The light of this day will simply be shedding more light on an indescribable event which will forever scar the lives of many individuals suffering in Newton, CT. My friends who live in Newtown could find no rest last night. They were posting messages throughout the night. Messages of pain and anguish; a town which could not sleep, and probably did not want to see the light of this new day for the dawn brings with it a realization that this is not some horrible nightmare from which one can awake, but the new reality that will forever shape and define their community. And the world looks on and wonders how to respond.
There are parents who are waking up this morning and asking "Where are My Children?" At the same time, could it be that the heavenly Father is asking, "Where are My Children?" How are God's children to respond to this indescribable tragedy? Today's scripture reminds us that there are times when we must bridle our tongues. Now is not the time to be arm-chair analysts, now is the time for action! We are reminded that we are to care for the orphans and widows in their distress, while being unstained by the world. This is not a time to place blame, but to focus on those who have been hurt by this terrible incident. Our focus should not be about how we can try and legislate Christianity, but a time to think about how we can live Christianity. If all Christians were truly traveling on the path to be transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, then our world would be filled with reflections of Jesus surrounding them and no one can legislate that kind of behavior. Our faith in an unseen Savior should result in a visible Savior through the works of his followers.
This morning my eyes are filled with tears and I am reminded of the horrific scene in Bethlehem when Herod had all of the baby boys under age two murdered in an effort to destroy the Messiah. I'm sure that as Newtown awakens today, "A voice is heard in Ramah [Newtown], weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more" (Matt. 2:18). Today there are homes in which the joy and laughter of a Saturday morning are missing because the children are no more. There are gifts under a Christmas tree that will never be opened because the children are no more. There are the arms of parents that are aching because their children are no more. There are parents remembering the last embrace with their little one. There are siblings who are lost and confused, wondering what this means for them. Let us take time today to focus on those who are suffering, lifting them to the father, asking for his care and comfort. May we become actively engaged in being His hands and feet to this world so that He doesn't have to ask, "Where are My children?"
Father, God, I am really at a loss for words today. My heart is broken and I know that yours is as well. My prayer is that you will help me, as one of your children and followers to respond in the way that you would respond. I pray that your love would surround the community of Newton, that you would envelope the parents whose arms are aching because they will never hold their child again. Those children are in your arms today and you are caring for them, but their parents are hurting. I know you understand that hurt, and have felt that pain at the loss of your own son. We cry out to you and ask you to send angels of mercy to minister to them in this time of incredible pain. And may we, your people, be your children of faith. Amen.