December 18, 2012

Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, in the shadow of a gunman

by Clint Archer

Sandy Hook grievingI can’t address any topic other than the searing pain that is throbbing in our hearts this week. On Friday (12-14-12) the news of a senseless mass murder of children in Sandy Hook Elementary School pierced the silence of our trivial complacency like a wailing siren. [Details here]

Is there anything to be said, or is this a time of us sitting with our hands on our mouths, shaking our heads in disbelief and shock?

One point that stuck me in Al Mohler’s excellent response was the biblical parallel he made with the mass murder of the children under King Herod’s murderous tyranny (Matt 2:16). Satan was slaughtering children at the first Christmas, and all these centuries later he is still striking at the innocent.

Death and mourning is uncomfortably integrated into life and living. We can get cavalier about death, as if it were natural. Sometimes we catch ourselves getting irritated by the inconvenient traffic induced by the sluggish pace of a hearse-led funeral convoy. Death inserts an uninvited semi-colon in the run-on sentence of our frenetic live. We blithely whizz pass cemeteries on the way to the movies, where we will be entertained by the termination of fictional bad guys.

Pray for NewtownThe serrated edge is of death is dulled by distance. Souls enter eternity constantly, over 150,000 of them every day. But when they are snatched from us young, violently, and en masse, we recoil in horror; and well we should. It is in these moments of shock and revulsion at the Curse’s consequence that we are reminded most vividly of how unnatural death is.

A bee sting is not natural. Bees don’t fly around in a kamikaze rage looking for people to sting, at the cost for their lives. But the sting is an inevitable consequence of provocation. Eve’s toying with sin begot death, and it will depart forever only once sin is crushed forever and swallowed up in victory (1 Cor 15:54).

Revelation 21:4 “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

In the meantime, there are no words to capture the unmitigated darkness of Friday’s massacre. And there are bitter few who can truly empathize. We are left trying to express our sympathy, but everything we say or type or think just plops like a damp squib, falling short of what’s in our hearts.

Sandy Hook School

On behalf of the pastors at the Cripplegate, I offer my deepest condolences to the families of Satan’s victims. We weep with those who weep.

Clint Archer

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Clint has been the pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church since 2005. He lives in Durban, South Africa with his wife and four kids.
  • AStev

    As a parent, I have great sorrow for these parents who now have aching, empty holes in their homes and hearts. By far the greater pain and sorrow for me, though, is knowing the probable anguish and fear these precious children must have known as the wicked man methodically killed them one by one. I pray that God in his mercy may have given them the serenity and presence and comfort in their final moments that he blessed so many of his martyrs with in days gone by.