It seems at this point words can only fail. While I, along with the rest of the world, feel stunned breathless by your tragedy, surely your pain and anguish is and will become deeper than we can imagine. But if it is possible to communicate my grief and prayers in a short letter, I'd like to try.
I grieve with you because life is always precious and always a gift to be protected. Because one murder or eighty is an assault on the beautiful image of God in each person. Our church family will pray for God's justice to be met and for truly broken hearts to be mended.
I grieve with you because of the almost inevitable consequence of fear. To have the foundations of your society shaken, to be without clear answers for your children or absolute hope for safety--this is true fear indeed. Our church family will pray that God's love drives away your fear. That even when the mountains give way, the presence of God through Christ will be your strength.
I grieve because of the incredible trick that is being played even as I write. By calling this murderer a Christian, a deed of great darkness has been attributed to the light. A work of the devil has been credited to the Savior, and not for the first time. I beg you to be assured that, whatever this man may call himself or whatever labels are given to him, he has no part of Jesus Christ. I may wear a nametag that says "George Washington"...but it's only that: a lying nametag. I beg you to not blame Jesus for wickedness done in his name, though against his word.
Our church family will pray tomorrow that true Christians, who have been transformed by the loving and forgiving grace of God, will be able to show you what Jesus is really like. Jesus knows what is to be broken-hearted and loves to bind up those hearts that have been torn apart. Though it may be extraordinarily difficult, please look past the lies about Jesus and find him in the salvation that brings inexplicable peace, a wonderful Comforter, freedom from fear and hope for the future.
With all sincerity,
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