Let massacre remind us to look out for each other
Almost daily, our TV screens show us the remains of another car that has been blown to bits, killing many people in Iraq. Africa seemingly seethes with mass murder as tribal, ethnic and other differences are confronted on a regular basis. Most of this "senseless killing" is far away and does not affect life here in this country and in our state. It's easy to be removed from it all.
But then on Monday a college student murdered 32 other students and teachers, and finally killed himself on the Virginia Tech campus. The media immediately reacted; reporters streamed into the college town. Politicians of varying stature from near and far expressed their concerns, and we were immersed in the unfolding and aftermath of this bizarre event.
People began to pray. This was close to home. Fear, anger and curiosity arose. The largest murder toll in this kind of event in our history. Where was the campus security? Will America ever be the same? Where was God? Why did He let this happen? Our local papers have even reviewed our security systems at the University of Hawaii. This could have been one of our kids or you or me.
Scripture relates that soon after they were banished from the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had two sons, Cain and Abel. Cain became jealous of his little brother, and his anger was obvious. Scripture next tells us that God spoke to Cain asking him why he was so angry, then God told him to do right and he would be accepted. God warned Cain that if he did not do right, sin was crouching at his door, and sin desired to have Cain. The solution was for Cain to master sin. Cain ignored these words and murdered his brother.
Sin is crouching at our doors, desiring to rule us, to destroy God's peace. God has set the world up so that we, and not he, are responsible for maintaining the peace. We are our brother's keeper. I am responsible for you, and you for me. It doesn't matter who we are, where we came from, what we believe: We are responsible for each other, and most of the time, we are responsible.
Our shooter, like Cain of old, ignored this Scripture. In the aftermath there will be lots of tears and questions. Why my child? Why this teacher?
I am reminded that God made us so that we best grieve our losses with tears. Crying and weeping restore our being in times like these. Be sure you know that God grieves along with all here on earth.
The God of the universe, who intends that everything would flourish, be wholesome and delightful, hurts when he sees sin conquer his creatures and destroy his intent to fill life, our life, with blessing. We need to master the sin crouching at our door. Let's resolve to do that together. God, please help us to be our brother's keeper.
The Rev. Murray Hohns is an associate pastor with New Hope Christian Fellowship.