LCMS president Rev. Dr. Gerald Kieschnick had the following to say about Monday’s shootings at Virginia Tech University. I think this is quite good, especially the reference to the unjustified suffering in Psalm 10. ITA friend Seth Zirkle also has published a great prayer from the LCMS about the shootings and a brief commentary on Luther’s “Theology of the Cross.” Seth says, “A theology of the cross seeks the beauty of God’s grace in the bloody agony of Christ’s suffering. At the very least it recognizes that man, simul iustus et pecattor, is stained with his fallen nature and Christ’s blood; it realizes that even in the face of suffering there is good. And not just any good, but Christ, the ultimate Good.” Amen.
Fact is, in the face of things like what happened at Tech, a Christianity that promises happyfuntimes all the time is not just wrong (“In this world you will have trouble…“), it is worthless. Though God is frequently hidden, He is always there, and there is always hope.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
As we learn more details of the horrific shootings on April 16th at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, we offer our deepest sympathies to and sincere prayers for the families and friends of the victims, as well as to the faculty, staff, and students at the university.
Our church body, through the offices of our Southeastern District, our participation in Lutheran Disaster Response, and other means, will do everything it can to minister to those in the Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, Va., communities.
I understand that in our own university system, a number of our Concordia colleges and universities will be holding vigils and special chapel services today. In your own prayers and meditations, you might consider following the lead of Concordia College, Bronxville, N.Y., by centering your thoughts on the laments of Psalm 10 and the stanzas of Lutheran Service Book [hymn] No. 764, “When Aimless Violence Takes Those We Love.”
Undoubtedly, many questions will continue to surround the events of this awful day. What could have caused such an outrageous action? Why did so many have to die? How could such a tragedy have been prevented? Some may even question, “Where was God?” The circumstances for such questions remind us of the broken and fallen world in which we live, where evil still has its day as the “devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
While one may never be able to explain fully to satisfaction the many queries of this incident, one can find the answer for hope in such times in the Lord Jesus Christ. The Easter message of His resurrection reminds us that He has destroyed the power of sin, death, and the devil. From the hollowness of an empty tomb comes the message of comfort and healing that alone can fill the emptiness of lives left vacant by the sadness and sorrow in the tragic death of fellow students and family members and friends. In the most tragic of circumstances we have hope, for God is there “reconciling the world unto himself in Christ.”
Even though we cannot in this life fully understand the mysteries of God, we can be sure of His love for us. Amid the dangers of our sinful world and fragile, fleeting lives, we turn to Christ as our eternal comfort and hope. We find solace in St. Paul’s words to the Romans: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39).
Dr. Gerald B. Kieschnick