In the face of death, faith is blossoming at Virginia Tech. The massacre forced people to the only place they could go in light of the horror – to their knees. Said one expert on faith, “The terrible scale of this forces people to go back to their souls.”
I hope it lasts.
After 9/11 American churches were literally overrun with people reeling from the savage attacks leveled on our country and on the symbols of our power. Facing the loss of family and friends and a sense of safety people ran to God. But it didn’t last.
According to a report on faith issued last year by the Barna Group:
In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, half of all Americans said their faith helped them cope with the shock and uncertainty. The change most widely reported was a significant spike in church attendance, with some churches experiencing more than double their normal crowd on the Sunday after the shocking event. However, by the time January 2002 rolled around, churchgoing was back to pre-attack levels, and has remained consistent in the five years since.
I point to this not as condemnation on anyone but as recognition of the trials of the spiritual life. Everything around us conspires to rob us of our faith. The ads on television scream that that the best of life can be had in a new car, a new bra, a new cup of coffee, or a new television series. The ads in magazines, before movies, on billboards and everywhere else do the same. We live in a world that is a deep down superficial. It is a world where faith is so hard to keep because faith can only be found in stillness, in prayer, in fellowship, in service…I pray for the students of Virginia Tech that their faith can withstand the world’s assaults.