As I watched the events in Florida unfold this week, the words that Asten spoke in the video from Sunday, echoed in my heart. While thanking us for the support we are giving, she said that the love we are giving to her kids shows them that school is a safe place. But I wonder once again just how safe schools are. Since the beginning of 2018, there have been 29 mass shootings with 18 of them happening at our schools. The primal human need for security and safety are experienced in few, if any, certain places anymore. Nowhere is safe –not a school and not a church.
If I was preaching this week on this tragedy, I think I would use the story found in Mark 4:35-41. In this story, the disciples learned that nowhere is safe – not even a boat. They knew the boat was in danger of capsizing. They knew the boat was not secure enough to carry them safely to the other side. They knew that in the face of a storm such as this, their modest boat could be overturned. That is why they called out to Jesus. They called out because they knew they could.
Perhaps that’s all we can do. Call out. Even in the places we thought could be safe. Even in the spaces we thought we were safe. We call out. Why? Because in the end we know we are not alone. Not ever. The truth of Parkland (and all the other sites of mass shootings) is that evil finds its way in, no matter what. And when a sense of hopelessness fills me I feel God gently tap me on my shoulder and whisper into my heart. He reminds me that He is with us. And then I am reminded that for every tear we cry, He not only cries with us, but He wipes away each of our tears.
“Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” Jesus woke up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” Then the wind ceased, and there was a dead calm. And they were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:38-41).
I know who He is: He is the One that is Emmanuel; He is the One who is with us!