If you have not heard about the shooting that took place in
Tennessee this past Sunday when a gunman opened fire in the sanctuary
of Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church (TVUUC), this is a tragedy that deserves our attention and prayers.

There will be an official denominational letter that Linda
Valentine, Gradye Parsons, Byron Wade and I will send out, but I wanted
to add my own personal thoughts as I too try to grapple with the events
of last weekend.

I know personally when things like this happen, I am overwhelmed with all sorts of emotions:

  • compassion for all involved;
  • sadness that acts of violence in places of sanctuary happen at all;
  • anger at the chosen actions of the shooter;
  • frustration about a world that has gotten used to violence;
  • hope in the ways folks have responded to show care and comfort;
  • called to remember that there are acts of violence around the world every day that do not get noticed;
  • pushed to think about forgiveness;
  • challenge to embrace the sovereignty of God;

I know that in a vacuum we can debate the nature of God’s presence
in all things, but for now, I think it is important to sit with our
emotions and simply acknowledge that there are times when the world
just does not make sense.  And as we are ready and willing we can/must
again embrace the fact that at times like this we are reminded that
through all of this all we ultimately have to lean on is the love of
God brought to us in the life, death and resurrection of Christ.  And
more importantly, no matter what may happen, nothing can separate us
from that love.

Romans 8:37-39 // 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, 39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our

In all things this is where I find my comfort.

Again, there will be a letter to come
out from Linda, Gradye, Byron and myself.  Many of have also sent notes
to Second Presbyterian Church located next door that sheltered children during the shooting.
In the mean time, please take time to pray for all who are effected by
this event and for the countless other acts of violence that go
unnoticed in our country and around the world.

I have not yet heard about ways to respond in other ways, but if you
know of such things, please be sure to leave a comment and I’ll update
this post as appropriate.

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