Coming out of the morning showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with Christie, we discovered that in an elementary school in Connecticut, a school like the one our oldest son and daughter attend here in Texas, dozens were killed in a shooting, many of them children.

Already, the condolences are pouring out, as well as the rush to judgement and band-aid solutions. But I thought of one of the things Gandalf said during the movie:

True courage is not about knowing when to take a life… but when to spare one.

I’ll have to check, but I think that is a Peter Jackson insertion rather than a Tolkien original. Perhaps Tolkien would speak authentically neither of courage nor of a possible time when it would be right to take a life, but of pity. The pity that stays a hand, that refuses to rush in quickly and deal death. The pity which weeps over those whose lives should not have been lost, but are. A pity which refuses the very question “Who deserves to die?”

So as a Christian, I can only fall back on my faith.

Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.

And Jesus adds, “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

And the prophets we hear as we prepare for Christmas call us to speak of the Peace of God.

So this Advent, I continue to wait for the day when all of us, collectively, in this world will no longer die in violence…because no one any longer lives by violence.

My thoughts and prayers and prayers are with all the people of Sandy Hook Elementary, of Newtown, and of Connecticut.

CT FB cover UMC

About expatminister

Aren't we what we repeatedly love? My wife, being GeekDad to the 4 superkids, United Methodist pastoring, Texas, science fiction and other nerdy pursuits, words (speaking, listening, writing, reading), Britain, music, camping, tech, baseball, practicing theology. Jesus. Coffee.


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