I was thinking of the unthinkable this week. Many of us were. I was thinking of the school shooting in La Loche and wondering how I might address it in my blog. An event like this deserves some response from people of faith.
My first thought was to write about how a Christian I believe that God does make meaning out of even the most meaningless events. Romans chapter 8 verse 28 says that "We know all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose." At the same time I don't believe that God has some kind of plan for horrific things to happen. I don't believe that God manipulates the events on the Earth according to a heavenly blueprint (like the movie the Adjustment Bureau). I think things just happen due to earthly consequences and that we have to deal with them but with God's love and compassion for us as we do.
Then I wanted to say why I think this horrible event happened. I wanted to blame someone. Jesus, however, warns us against this. In Luke chapter 13 verses one to five he responds to some accidents and massacres that happened in his time and says that it was not because the people affected were sinners. In effect he sidesteps the question of blame and says that our impulse should be to become better people. In his words we must repent or perish.
My wish is to blame something concrete and then work on that concrete thing so that a school shooting may never happen again. It isn't that simple though. The only thing that we can change is the only thing that we can ever change--ourselves. We can become the people that God yearns for us to be and hope that process of transformation will make a difference in the world around us. It seems like a paltry hope when I want to rage against something on behalf of someone else but my responsibility is for myself. I am called to live an ethical, loving life like Jesus of Nazareth, to make mistakes and learn from them. And that is the only way that I will make a difference.