Saturday, June 7, 2014

When Your Child Calls to Tell You That There is a Shooter on Campus.

On Thursday, I got a call from Elisabeth.  She whispered that she was in her basement of her on-campus house at Seattle Pacific University and that they were on lock down because there was a shooter on campus. She was alone.
I'm not sure I absorbed what she was saying so I reassured her and told her I would call her back as soon as I got home.  I hung up and immediately called her back to go upstairs and be sure all the windows and doors were locked.
Elisabeth is not an innocent or naive girl.  Spending her high school years in China opened her eyes to the brokenness that is in the world. But this was different.
So what do you do when your daughter calls to say she is hiding in the basement because of a shooter?
Well, you freeze a little.  You try to pray but you can't.
You go home and turn on the news and check the internet to find out that someone had entered a building and shot students at SPU.  You are horrified.
You call grandparents so that they will not see this news on the internet.
You call your daughter back.  You text.  You sit frozen to any screen that can give you information.  You know that you are among over 4,000 parents who are doing this.
You hear that one of the shooting victims has died and wonder how they could announce this and were the parents even there yet. You feel overwhelming grief for this young person who has lost their life.
You hear of heroism and courage.  Of weeping and grief. Of fear.
You are amazed at how quickly SPU shut the campus down and are thankful, oh so thankful.  You feel sad as your remember that these heightened precautions are because of the loss of life at Virginia Tech a few years ago.
The next day, when you go to work, someone comments how sad it would be if someone makes this out to be about guns.  You look at her and say "I am one of those people" and you are not even afraid to speak out.  Because it is about guns and mental illness and many, many things. But let's not say it isn't about guns.  Let's stop saying this.
You watch the service of prayer and lament and you weep as you listen.
You hear a woman with a shaking voice pray this prayer of grace and courage.

Grant us, O Lord, comfort, 

even as You hear our laments and heartfelt cries of distress.

We pray, O loving God, for the one among us who has died.

We pray for Paul Lee.
Minister to his family and friends, 
be with those who mourn his loss, 
sustain those who are grief-stricken, 
and help us all in our shock.

O God, we pray for the one who 

perpetrated this mindless act of violence. 
Deal with his troubled soul, 
love him in spite of his hatred, 
and bring him not only to justice 
but to repentance and spiritual wholeness.

Lord we pray now for our neighborhood, 

and for the city of Seattle. 
We know that what happens in one place 
affects all those who are connected to it. 
We bring our city before you now.

God, we pray for the family members near and far, 

and for the closest friends of students who have been most affected. 
Comfort our families, and help us to know 
how to best care for all those with whom we are connected.

Help us, O God, in our sadness, confusion, and anger.  

Help us to deal with this tragedy with 
honesty, forthrightness, and courage, 
even as You strengthen our faith and resolve.

Lord, in spite of this day let us not lose hope, 

let us not give in to despair, 
let us not think that evil or death have the last word, 
and let us remember that we serve the Risen and Exalted Lord, Jesus Christ.

O Lord our God, accept the fervent prayers of your people; 

in the multitude of your mercies, 
look with compassion upon us and all who turn to you for help; 
for you are gracious, O lover of souls, 
and to you we give glory, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever.


You hear students singing "Come, Lord Jesus, Come" and your heart joins them.  You think about the grieving parents of the injured and of Paul Lee, the 19 year old student who has died and you ache for them.

And then you pray for Shalom...the deep peace of God.  Yes, come Lord Jesus, Come.