Summary: A sermon in response to the school shooting in Florida on Feb 14, 2018. God is greater than any evil!

February 18, 2018

David Simpson

Lanier Christian Church

Unspeakable Tragedy

Matthew 2:13-18

The unthinkable happened again on Wednesday. Seventeen innocent children and teachers were murdered, others seriously injured. It is a senseless tragedy and makes us angry, as you can tell, by watching or listening to news programs and reading comments on social media. It is hard to find words that bring comfort to those who have suffered such unspeakable loss. It happened on one of the happiest days of the year – Valentines Day. Instead of celebrating that day with hearts of love, South Florida and our nation were filled with broken hearts. I can't imagine how the families of those children and those teachers feel; unspeakable tragedy indeed.

I know we all have our opinions on how to prevent this type of tragedy from ever occurring again. I am certainly not going to get into the variety of options that are available when it comes to government solutions. I would just say that socially, morally, spiritually, judicially something must change in our culture to stop this violence that has permeated our nation. Perhaps a lot of conversations and decisions and action among local, state and national leaders in all walks of life will bring about peaceable, life-enhancing and constructive solutions. My task as a minister and Christian is to find some spiritual solutions and guidance in the midst of this terrible pain.

And believe me, I’m praying for answers and I’m praying for those who are suffering so right now.

I thought that one of the great blessings that came out of this tragic shooting in Florida was the gathering of thousands of people at different vigils in the area on Thursday…two were at churches and the last one was held at a public park at sunset. At each vigil they came together to remember those who had died, to pray and seek comfort in each other.

Among the speakers at the evening event were Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who attended Stoneman Douglas High School and graduated in 2007. He said at the rally:

"While I don't have all the answers, I know that something has to change, before this is visited on another community, and another community, and another community," Rizzo said.

"We don't know who's hiding their sadness or feelings of guilt and loneliness, or who needs help and is too proud or afraid to ask," he added. "So we have to be there for each other, we have to cope with our pain, and we have to live each other's pain." ( – Feb 16, 2018)

I so appreciate what he said: We have to be there for each other. That’s one of the great callings of the church, especially in times of tragedy and shocking news. We need to be there for each other. Paul wrote to the Roman Christians and challenged them to “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”

We need to be there for each other. One way that we do that is when we feel the pain of others and stand by them through their storm. We can’t change it, we can’t fix it, but we can be there; and that means the world to those who are hurting.

In that same Romans 12 chapter Paul also acknowledges the evil that is in the world. He says: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.”

There are too many people today that are dancing with evil and resisting the good. Our society often ridicules people who are good and instead embraces the bad boys and worldly girls. Such ridicule occurred this past Tuesday, 24 hours before the school shooting on the national TV show “The View.” The panelists mocked Vice-President Mike Pence for his Christian faith, calling it “scary” and even saying that his religious beliefs are a kind of “mental illness.” {}

Media has coined a phrase for this type of talk: “Christian shaming.” Bruce Ashford, Dean of Faculty at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote about this in an article printed on Friday (Feb. 16, 2018 - He wrote:

We experienced Christian shaming recently when NBC sports commentator Tony Dungy came under fire for commending Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles of the victorious Philadelphia Eagles on his faith before the game and for calling Foles’ faith a significant factor in his confidence and performance against the New England Patriots.

Dungy’s remarks were met with a wave of social media outrage.

The first response was a critic who tweeted, “unbelievable you would use your employer, @NBCSports, to spout this nonsense on the air.”

Another early critic tweeted, “Does NBC want you preaching on air?”

We also experienced this sort of Christian shaming when different guests of cable news last Wednesday, after the school shooting, mocked Christians who had called on our nation to pray in the aftermath of this terrible shooting, saying they were tired of hearing politicians and people saying: “You’re in my thoughts and prayers.” They wanted action, not prayer.

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Bob Adcox

commented on Feb 20, 2018

Well said

David Simpson

commented on Feb 21, 2018

Thank you for your encouragement, Bob, and let's all keep praying as our nation deals with yet another senseless tragedy.

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