In the midst of a summer stressed by drought and heat, a gunman killed twelve people and wounded fifty-eight others in a movie theater in Colorado. Within minutes seventy people were inflicted with wounds that will last a lifetime. Those who lost friends and loved ones and those who will take months if not years to recover are not the only ones wounded by this act without love.
We want to know why. Why did this happen?
We believe that somehow the knowing will prevent it from happening ever again. And we never want it to happen again. It is too easy for us to imagine being in that theater ourselves, or someone we know and love.
We turn and look, like voyeurs at a traffic accident, we ourselves looking without compassion because we want to insulate ourselves from fear.
The raw injustice of a random act of violence stretches far across the land and twists trust into fear, peace into anxiety.
There is only terror if we imagine ourselves in the place where a person without compassion causes death indiscriminately. But we do know how to care. We do know how to stand alongside another who is in pain and it makes all the difference.
Slowly the stories emerge from the chaotic scene: the stories of selfless acts, of lives that will not be completed but have already made their mark on others, of heroic efforts to restore physical and mental health.
Slowly we become aware that caring about others brings a well-being that is stronger than what went before.
Slowly through compassion, through knowing the most important story, the story of love that leads to life – quite the opposite of the story without love that leads to death – slowly but quite intentionally the arc of the universe bends again toward justice.
Grace and Peace.