There is a line in the musical Hamilton that says “I’ve imagined my death so many times that it seems like a memory.”
The senseless slaughter of innocent lives in Las Vegas this week (which left 59 dead so far and over 500 injured) once again thrusts us into an unimaginable image of what it would be like to be in the midst of a mass shooting. Sadly, it is happening so often in this country, it is beginning to seem like a memory or a repetitive bad dream.
We must pray at this time. Pray for the families of the victims and the family of the perpetrator. Pray for those who have been injured and their loved ones. Pray for all the people who witnessed this scene of terror first-hand, who have nightmares or even survivors’ guilt.
Pray for the first-responders and the people who wish they could have been there to help or hold the hand of a loved one in their last minutes of life. Pray for all the counselors, pastors, teachers, and parents who are trying to help people get through this tragedy.
When we don’t have the words, we call on the Holy Spirit’s aid. Romans 8:26 says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”
We also need to search our hearts for something we can do. Mass shootings will continue in this country as long as we have a culture of violence and hatred. We as a church need to be teaching people ways of solving problems peaceably.
We can learn how to recognize signs of alienation and desperation in some persons described as “lone wolf” types. And we can reach out to them in healing ways so that perhaps some tragedies can be prevented. We can promote the inclusion of more mental health services that can be available to all and lessen the stigma that prevents people from getting the help they need.
May we live to see the day when such senseless killings are a past and not present memory in this world of ours.