Connecticut police say a gunman forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, killing 26 children and adults before turning his weapon on himself. The attack is the country’s second-deadliest school shooting.
In the wake of the assault has come a flow of heartwarming, prayerful support from across the globe, including candlelight vigils and support for the families affected by the tragedy. Stories of courage and loving care are now ringing through those school corridors, displacing, perhaps, at least some of the sorrow. And heartfelt singing fills the air in many established or hurriedly improvised places of worship:
“O longing hearts that wait on God
Through all the world so wide;
He knows the angels that you need,
And sends them to your side,
To comfort, guard and guide.
O wake and hear the angel-song
That bids all discord cease,
From pain and sorrow, doubt and fear,
It brings us sweet release;
And so our hearts find peace” (Violet Hay, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 9).
“When tragedy strikes: a prayerful response to the shootings in Connecticut” discusses how we can respond to the events of December 14th. The author notes that her “conviction of God’s all-power, presence, and love right at [this] point of urgent need” is an effective way to meet this evil act. Surely our insistence that God’s love cannot be overruled, and that evil will not have the last word, is a comfort and source of strength to children, parents, teachers, and those responding to the tragedy.
“Prayer for the heart that rejects God” takes a deeper look at how prayer reveals the irresistible God-ward impulsion that’s native to each of us, disarming and dissolving dark motives in the process. Angel messages of peace are constantly sustaining each of us, enabling us to feel God’s peace no matter what the situation is. That peace embraces those who may be contemplating violent acts, too, and prevents further violence from ever taking place.
You might also be interested in “Addressing tragedies and ‘sudden endings,’” from the most recent issue of the Christian Science Sentinel. This article explains some ways that we can respond compassionately to tragedies of any kind, and take a stand for the presence of God, good, without being naive or allowing our thinking to be dominated by the apparent enormity of what’s happened.
God’s love is comforting Newtown in the wake of the shooting, and He will continue to guide the community, the country, and the world to take appropriate steps to respond to what’s happened. But most of all, He is reminding each of us that evil intentions or acts have no place in His creation. We can stand on the fact that love, peace, and compassion are native to each of God’s children.