We can pick up the pieces of rubble left aground by the cold-blooded murdering of 32 Virginia Tech students, but we cannot make sense of the senseless shards of rubble we find. A professor who perceived that the young man was deeply troubled and fellow students who knew the same; lives of 33 familes now wrecked and young adults who will not return for the summer; security measures that can never be secure enough to block tragedies and police investigations that didn’t take the turn we wish had been taken. What can we do? What do you think?
We can hold the entire school, the families, the police force, the medical doctors and nurses still tending to the wounded and all involved unto our God as an offering in the hope that we can heal the grieving and guide our country.
But we can’t make enough laws to prevent troubled, isolated individuals from penetrating into the fabric of a reasonably-safe garment to unravel parts of it.
We can be more sensitive to the troubled and more vigilant in seeking help for roommates, students, acquaintances, and those we encounter whom we believe are a threat.
But we can’t find our way into the inner world of everyone so that we can with breathless certainty discern those who might explode at any moment.
We can fight for justice, establish better laws, and live out our vocation in peace and justice and love. And we can urge the media to remove the videos of the murderer — those videos can have no redemptive value.
But we can’t create a completely safe world, a perfect environment, or a society in which no one with evil intent can ever enter.
We can live by the Jesus Creed, but we can’t force anyone to live by it.
For these reasons, and more beside, we can pray what Jesus taught us to pray:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.